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J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 1994 Sep;35(6):1109-22.

Chronic family adversity and early child behavior problems: a longitudinal study of low income families.

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Department of Psychology, University of Pittsburgh, PA 15260.


A beginning step in the prevention of child psychopathology is the identification of conditions associated with a disproportionately high incidence of behavior problems. Rutter and colleagues (British Journal of Psychiatry, 1975, 126, 493-509) have reported a dramatic increase in the probability of child adjustment difficulties as a function of multiple family stressors. However, few investigators have tested this association beginning in infancy. The present investigation examines this relationship at the ages of 1 and 2 with behavioral adjustment at age 3 among 100 low-income families. Broad support was found for the family adversity hypothesis, though sex differences were evident regarding individual correlates of problem behavior.

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