Longitudinal Predictors of Behavioural Adjustment in Pre-Adolescent Children Academic Article uri icon


  • Longitudinal data from infancy onwards, from the Australian Temperament Project, a prospective study of the temperament and development of a large and representative sample of Victorian children, were examined to identify predictors of psychological disorder at 11-12 years of age.Those children scoring in the at-risk range for psychological disorder according to parents, teachers and self-reports using the Child Behaviour Questionnaire were selected at 11-12 years of age for in-depth assessment and comparison with a group of children with no history of adjustment problems. Analyses of group differences using longitudinal data gathered from infancy to 12 years focused on parent and teacher reports on child temperament and behaviour, and various facets of home and school adjustment.The strongest predictors of adjustment at 12 years were previous behaviour problems, along with some specific temperament factors involving self-regulation capacities and mother's overall rating of child difficulty. Results based on parallel teacher data including peer adjustment, and social and academic competence measures were consistent with parent data.Our research confirms the persistence of early appearing behaviour problems in a community sample and the longitudinal influence of temperament factors in childhood. The study supports the need for a focus on early intervention and prevention strategies in the child mental health field.

publication date

  • June 2001