Fathers and preschool behavior problems.

M. DeKlyen, M. A. Biernbaum, M. L. Speltz, M. T. Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Fathers have seldom been the focus of research investigating the causes and correlates of early behavior problems. Two studies examined fathers of preschool boys with and without clinic-referred behavior problems. Six domains of risk were examined: life stress, social support, psychological symptoms, parenting attitudes, positive involvement, and harsh discipline. Clinic fathers differed from fathers of matched comparison boys with respect to all of these except social support, but only harsh discipline contributed uniquely to clinic status. These domains correctly classified 81% of the boys. Within the clinic group, teacher-rated problem severity 1 year later was predicted by fathers' life stress, psychological symptoms, and positive involvement, indicating that different factors may account for initial clinic status versus stability of problems. Mothers' self-report data better predicted clinic group membership, whereas fathers' data better predicted Year 2 outcomes for clinic boys.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-275
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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