Child conduct problems across home and school contexts: A person-centered approach.


To examine patterns of conduct problems across the home and school context, we used latent class analysis to analyze primary caregivers’ and teachers’ ratings on the conduct problems subscale of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (Goodman Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 38, 581-586, 1997) in the Family Life Project (N = 1,292), a prospective study of child development in rural and small town contexts. We found a similar four-class solution at 5 and 7 years of age. In decreasing prevalence, the following classes were identified: (1) low symptoms reported by both informants (low cross-context); (2) high parent-reported symptoms, low teacher-reported symptoms (home context); (3) low parent-reported symptoms, moderate teacher-reported symptoms (school context); and (4) high symptoms reported by both informants (high cross-context). Classes exhibited stability from age five to age seven: children were more likely to remain in the same class than to transition to a different class, and longitudinal stability was especially high for children in the low cross-context class at age 5. A number of child and family characteristics measured in early childhood (executive function, verbal ability, poverty-related risk, sensitive parenting, and parental depressive symptoms) were associated with class membership at age five and age seven, but were generally not associated with longitudinal transitions between classes.