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Psychosocial precursors and correlates of differing internalizing trajectories from 3 to 15 years
journal contributionposted on 2009-07-01, 00:00 authored by Primrose LetcherPrimrose Letcher, D Smart, A Sanson, John ToumbourouJohn Toumbourou
Psychosocial precursors and correlates of parent-reported internalizing behavior trajectories across the age span of 3–15 years were explored using a community-based cohort of Australian children. Six internalizing trajectories had previously been identified for both girls (N = 810) and boys (N = 874) in this sample, comprising stable low, high, decreasing, and increasing pathways. Infancy and toddler temperamental traits (inhibition/shyness, irritability), behavior problems, and parent–child relationship difficulties constituted significant risks for subsequent problematic internalizing profiles. Several gender-specific trends were evident, with temperamental reactivity and shyness, less optimal parenting, and peer difficulties more salient for girls on increasing trajectories whereas externalizing problems were more prominent among boys on increasing trajectories. Factors associated with recovery from elevated symptoms included higher levels of social competence, better parent and peer relations, and more positive school adjustment. Findings suggest that individual characteristics and relationship experiences may be involved in the development and course of internalizing problems.