Published In

Child Development

Document Type


Publication Date



Behavior disorders in children -- United States -- Case studies, Preschool children -- Development, Teenage mothers -- United States -- Case studies


Using hierarchical linear (HLM), we analyzed individual developmental trajectories of disruptive behavior problems between ages 3.5 to 6.0 years for 183 children of adolescent mothers. We examined how the level of problem behavior (intercept) and the rate of change over time (slope) are influenced by child's sex, mother's depression/anxiety symptoms, and mother's use of negative control for regulating child behavior. On average, disruptive behavior decreased from age 3.5 to 6.0. Child sex and maternal depression/anxiety related to the level of behavior problems but not to the rate of change. Boys and children of more depressed/ anxious mothers exhibited higher levels of disruptive behavior. Maternal negative control was associated with both level of disruptive behavior and rate of change, and negative control mediated the effects of maternal depression/anxiety. Greater negative control corresponded to higher levels of behavior problems and no reduction in their display over time. Child race moderated effects of negative control.


This is the publisher' s final PDF of an article published in Child Development, Vol.70, Issue 2, copyright 1999 by Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development and available online at:



Persistent Identifier

Included in

Social Work Commons