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Psychiatry Res. 2006 Feb 28;141(2):141-9. Epub 2006 Jan 18.

Family cohesion and children's behavior problems: a longitudinal investigation.

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Department of Epidemiology, Michigan State University, College of Human Medicine, East Lansing, 48824, USA.


We examine the association of family cohesion and conflict with childhood behavior problems. A stratified random sample of 823 children was evaluated at ages 6 and 11 years. Mothers rated the family environment at age 6 using the Family Environment Scale. Mothers and teachers rated children's behavior problems at ages 6 and 11, using the Child Behavior Checklist and the Teacher Report Form, respectively. Multiple regression analysis, applying generalized estimating equations, was used. Although results varied between mothers' and teachers' data, they converged in identifying family cohesion as a factor in children's mental health. Family cohesion, as rated by mothers, had a beneficial effect on children's internalizing and attention problems, as rated by both mothers and teachers, that was stable over time. The study highlights an important relationship between family cohesion and children's internalizing and attention problems.

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