The normative development of child and adolescent problem behavior

J Abnorm Psychol. 2003 May;112(2):179-92. doi: 10.1037/0021-843x.112.2.179.


The aim of this study was to identify normative developmental trajectories of parent-reported problems assessed with the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL; T. M. Achenbach, 1991) in a representative sample of 2,076 children aged 4 to 18 years from the general population. The trajectories were determined by multilevel growth curve analyses on the CBCL syndromes in a Longitudinal multiple birth-cohort sample that was assessed 5 times with 2-year intervals. Most syndromes showed a linear increase or decrease with age or a curvilinear trajectory, except for thought problems. Trajectories for most syndromes differed for boys versus girls, except those for withdrawn, social problems, and thought problems. These normative developmental trajectories provide information against which developmental deviance in childhood and adolescence can be detected.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology*
  • Child Development*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Psychology, Adolescent
  • Psychology, Child