Predicting internalizing and externalizing problems at five years by child and parental factors in infancy and toddlerhood

Child Psychiatry Hum Dev. 2012 Apr;43(2):153-70. doi: 10.1007/s10578-011-0255-0.


This study examined child and parental factors in infancy and toddlerhood predicting subclinical or clinical levels of internalizing and externalizing problems at 5 years of age. Ninety-six children and their families participated. They were assessed when the children were 4-10 weeks old (T1), 2 years (T2) and 5 years old (T3). Child risks (difficult temperament, health problems, early emotional and behavioral problems), parental risks (psychopathology, parenting stress and perception of the child) and family risks (socio-economic status, quality of marital relationship and family violence) were examined. At 5 years, internalizing problems were predicted by family violence during the child's infancy and parenting stress at age 2. Externalizing problems were predicted by psychiatric problems of the mother before pregnancy and child's externalizing problems at 2 years of age. When interventions aiming at preventing emotional and behavioral problems in children are considered, these issues should be recognized early and effective intervention initiated.

MeSH terms

  • Child Behavior / psychology*
  • Child Behavior Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Family / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Parenting / psychology
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Risk Factors
  • Temperament*