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The long-term indirect effect of the early Family Check-Up intervention on adolescent internalizing and externalizing symptoms via inhibitory control

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 January 2020

Rochelle F. Hentges
Department of Psychology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Chelsea M. Weaver Krug
Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Daniel S. Shaw
Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Melvin N. Wilson
Department of Psychology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA
Thomas J. Dishion
Department of Psychology, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA
Kathryn Lemery-Chalfant
Department of Psychology, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA


This study examined the long-term effects of a randomized controlled trial of the Family Check-Up (FCU) intervention initiated at age 2 on inhibitory control in middle childhood and adolescent internalizing and externalizing problems. We hypothesized that the FCU would promote higher inhibitory control in middle childhood relative to the control group, which in turn would be associated with lower internalizing and externalizing symptomology at age 14. Participants were 731 families, with half (n = 367) of the families assigned to the FCU intervention. Using an intent-to-treat design, results indicate that the FCU intervention was indirectly associated with both lower internalizing and externalizing symptoms at age 14 via its effect on increased inhibitory control in middle childhood (i.e., ages 8.5–10.5). Findings highlight the potential for interventions initiated in toddlerhood to have long-term impacts on self-regulation processes, which can further reduce the risk for behavioral and emotional difficulties in adolescence.

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The long-term indirect effect of the early Family Check-Up intervention on adolescent internalizing and externalizing symptoms via inhibitory control
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The long-term indirect effect of the early Family Check-Up intervention on adolescent internalizing and externalizing symptoms via inhibitory control
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