Clinical Significance and Correlates of Disruptive Behavior in Environmentally At-Risk Preschoolers

Lauren S. Wakschlag*, Kate Keenan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Examines the clinical significance and correlates of disruptive behavior disorder symptoms (DBDSX) in preschoolers. Participants were 129 predominantly minority preschoolers (21/2 to 51/2) residing in low-income environments, half of whom were clinic-referred for disruptive behavior. Children with higher levels of DBDSX were more impaired in parent-child, preschool and clinic contexts. Correlates of DBDSX included both prenatal and infancy risks (low soothability as infants, prenatal exposure to cigarettes) and concurrent parenting factors (harshness, low levels of behavioral responsiveness, and parenting stress). In general, the clinical and risk profile of DBDSX in preschoolers at environmental risk appears to be similar to that of older children. Based on the results of this study, etiologic and prevention research on disruptive behavior disorders should begin in the first few years of life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-275
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology

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