Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Stability of behavioral and emotional disturbance in a sample of disadvantaged preschool-aged children

  • 23 Accesses

  • 2 Citations


This study is concerned with the long-term stability of behavioral and emotional disturbance among preschool-aged children. In conjunction with a large screening project, 111 Head Start children were rated by their teachers on the Preschool Behavior Questionnaire. Follow-up ratings were obtained 12 months later. Results indicated that hostile/aggressive behaviors were quite stable and that subjects demonstrating a preponderance of such problems were likely to maintain their symptoms over time. In contrast, subjects exhibiting anxiety-rekated behaviors were significantly more likely to improve spontaneously during the normal course of development.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. 1.

    Anderson D: Prevalence of behavioral and emotional disturbance and specific problem types in a sample of disadvantaged preschool-aged children.J Clin Child Psychol 12:130–136, 1983.

  2. 2.

    Crowther J, Bond L, Rolf J: The incidence, prevalence, and severity of behavior disorders among preschool-aged children in day care.J Abnorm Child Psychol 9:23–42, 1981.

  3. 3.

    Earls F: The prevalence of behavior problems in 3-year-old children.J Am Acad Child Psychiat 19:439–452, 1980.

  4. 4.

    Jenkins S, Bax M, Hart H: Behavior problems in preschool children.J Child Psychol Psychiat 21:5–17, 1980.

  5. 5.

    Richman N, Stevenson J, Graham P: Prevalence of behavior problems in 3-year-old children: An epidemiological study in a London borough.J Child Psychol Psychiat 16:277–287, 1975.

  6. 6.

    Gersten J, Langner T, Eisenberg J, Simcha-Fagan O, McCarthy E: Stability and change in types of behavioral disturbance of children and adolescents.J Abnorm Child Psychol 4:111–127, 1976.

  7. 7.

    Glavin J: Persistence of behavior disorders in children.Except Child 38:367–376, 1972.

  8. 8.

    Glow R, Glow P, Rump E: The stability of child behavior disorders: A one year test-retest study of Adelaide versions of the Connors teacher and parent rating scales.J Abnorm Child Psychol 10:33–60, 1982.

  9. 9.

    Levitt E: Research on psychotherapy with children. In A Bergin and S Garfield (Eds.),Handbook of Psychotherapy and Behavior Change, 1st ed New York: John Wiley, 1971.

  10. 10.

    Barrett C, Hampe I, Miller L: Research on child psychotherapy. In S. Garfield and A Bergin (Eds.),Handbook of Psychotherapy and Behavior Change, 2nd ed. New York: John Wiley, 1978.

  11. 11.

    Rutter M, Tizard J, Yule W, Graham P, Whitmore K: Isle of White studies, 1964–1974.Psychol Med 6:313–332, 1976.

  12. 12.

    Richman N: Is a behavior checklist for pre-school children really useful? In P Graham (Ed.),Epidemiological Approaches in Child Psychiatry. New York: Academic Press, 1977.

  13. 13.

    Victor J, Halverson C: Behavior problems in elementary school children: A followup study.J Abnorm Child Psychol 4:17–29, 1976.

  14. 14.

    Quay H, Peterson D:Manual for the Behavior Problem Checklist. Unpublished, 1975.

  15. 15.

    Miller L:School Behavior Checklist-Manual. Los Angeles: Western Psychological Services, 1981.

  16. 16.

    Webb J: A comparison of teacher ratings of classroom behavior on the School Behavior Checklist. Unpublished master's thesis, University of Louisville, 1973.

  17. 17.

    Kohn M, Rosman L: A social competence scale and symptom cheklist for the preschool child: Factor dimensions, their cross instrument generality, and longitudinal persistence.Dev Psychol 6:430–444, 1972.

  18. 18.

    Behar L, Stringfield S: A behavior rating scale for the preschool child.Dev Psychol 10:601–610, 1974.

  19. 19.

    Lorion R, Cowen E, Caldwell R: Problem types of children referred to a schoolbased mental health program: Identification and outcome.J Consult Clin Psychol 42:491–496, 1974.

  20. 20.

    Quay H, Werry J:Psychopathological Disorders of Childhood, 2nd ed. New York: John Wiley, 1979.

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to David R. Anderson PhD.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Anderson, D.R. Stability of behavioral and emotional disturbance in a sample of disadvantaged preschool-aged children. Child Psych Hum Dev 14, 249–260 (1984). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00706038

Download citation


  • Social Psychology
  • Head Start
  • Emotional Disturbance
  • Behavior Questionnaire
  • Large Screening