The Development of Adolescent Conduct Problems and Borderline Mood Features Among Children with Externalizing Behavior Problems

Open Access
Okado, Yuko
Graduate Program:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
June 06, 2011
Committee Members:
  • Karen L. Bierman, Committee Chair/Co-Chair
  • Sandra T. Azar, Committee Member
  • Kenneth N. Levy, Committee Member
  • Robert Nix, Committee Member
  • adolescents
  • conduct problems
  • borderline personality
  • externalizing problems
  • parenting
  • developmental psychopathology
  • peer rejection
This study examined the development of conduct problems and borderline mood features, potential precursors to antisocial and borderline personality pathologies respectively, in a sample of 317 children participating in the Fast Track project. All of these children exhibited aggressive-disruptive behavior problems at school entry, but by late adolescence, they diverged into groups characterized by elevated conduct problems, elevated mood features consistent with borderline personality pathology, or minimal elevations in conduct or mood problems. Latent class analyses revealed that overt aggression in early childhood specifically predicted conduct problems in late adolescence, whereas negative emotional reactivity in early childhood specifically predicted borderline mood features in late adolescence. Peer rejection and low parental warmth experienced in middle childhood moderated and amplified the link between early negative emotional reactivity and late borderline mood features, but these negative social experiences did not moderate the link between early overt aggression and later conduct problems. Theoretical and clinical implications are discussed.