Terrible ones? Assessment of externalizing behaviors in infancy with the Child Behavior Checklist

J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2006 Aug;47(8):801-10. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2006.01616.x.


Background: This study investigated the occurrence, cross-informant agreement, 1-year stability, and context characteristics of externalizing behaviors in 12-month-old children, as compared to 24- and 36-month-olds.

Method: In a general population sample of 786 12-month-olds, 720 24-month-olds, and 744 36-month-olds, the CBCL/ 1(1/2)-5 was obtained from mothers and fathers and again one year later for a subsample of 307 children. Mothers of 1,831 children also provided complete data on child, mother, and family characteristics.

Results: Over three-fourths of the externalizing behaviors occurred in more than 10% of 12-month-olds, over one-third of the items in more than 25%. For almost all externalizing behaviors, the occurrence was significantly lower in 12-month-olds compared to 24- and 36-month-old children. Mother-father agreement and 1-year stability of externalizing behaviors in 12-month-old children were significant, but generally somewhat lower than in 24- and 36-month-olds. Context characteristics were related to externalizing behaviors in 12-month-olds as well as in older children. Some associations were less pronounced in 12-month-old children, but the overall pattern of correlates was similar across age groups.

Conclusions: The results of this study show that externalizing behaviors in 12-month-old children merit further research and can be assessed with the CBCL in a valid way.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Child Behavior Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Child Behavior Disorders / epidemiology
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology
  • Child Behavior Disorders / therapy
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Early Intervention, Educational
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Behavior*
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Male
  • Netherlands
  • Personality Assessment
  • Statistics as Topic