Maternal age at first birth and boys' risk for conduct disorder

Lauren S. Wakschlag*, Rachel A. Gordon, Benjamin B. Lahey, Rolf Loeber, Stephanie M. Green, Bennett L. Leventhal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Young maternal age is a known risk factor for behavior problems in children, but links to specific clinical disorders have not been established. Although a history of conduct problems in girls increases the risk of early pregnancy, multigenerarional links between maternal history of problem behavior, age at first birth, and child conduct disorder (CD) have not been previously studied. In this sample of 177 primarily White, clinic-referred boys, maternal age at first birth (MAFB) was associated with CD, even for boys who were not first-born (53%). Maternal history of problem behavior was also associated with an early MAFB and the diagnosis of CD in their sons. Controlling for maternal pre- and postnatal history of problem behavior reduced the association of MAFB with CD in male offspring. To clarify the association of MAFB and CD in offspring, future research should prospectively examine an early age at first birth as part of a maternal problem behavior pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-441
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Research on Adolescence
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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