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Inattention/hyperactivity and aggression from early childhood to adolescence: Heterogeneity of trajectories and differential influence of family environment characteristics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  07 April 2005

University of Michigan
Michigan State University
University of Michigan
Michigan State University
University of Michigan
University of Michigan
University of Michigan


Inattention/hyperactivity and aggressive behavior problems were measured in 335 children from school entry throughout adolescence, at 3-year intervals. Children were participants in a high-risk prospective study of substance use disorders and comorbid problems. A parallel process latent growth model found aggressive behavior decreasing throughout childhood and adolescence, whereas inattentive/hyperactive behavior levels were constant. Growth mixture modeling, in which developmental trajectories are statistically classified, found two classes for inattention/hyperactivity and two for aggressive behavior, resulting in a total of four trajectory classes. Different influences of the family environment predicted development of the two types of behavior problems when the other behavior problem was held constant. Lower emotional support and lower intellectual stimulation by the parents in early childhood predicted membership in the high problem class of inattention/hyperactivity when the trajectory of aggression was held constant. Conversely, conflict and lack of cohesiveness in the family environment predicted membership in a worse developmental trajectory of aggressive behavior when the inattention/hyperactivity trajectories were held constant. The implications of these findings for the development of inattention/hyperactivity and for the development of risk for the emergence of substance use disorders are discussed.This work was supported by National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism grants (RO1 AA12217 to R.A.Z. and J.T.N. and R37 AA07065 to R.A.Z. and H.E.F.). We are indebted to Bengt Muthén for his advice on the statistical analyses for this study.

Research Article
© 2005 Cambridge University Press

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