Family Structure and Problem Behavior of Adolescents and Young Adults: A Growth-Curve Study

  • Inge VanderValk
  • Ed Spruijt
  • Martijn de Goede
  • Cora Maas
  • Wim Meeus


In the present longitudinal 3-wave study of 1274 adolescents and young adults, aged 12–24 at the 1st wave, it is examined whether youngsters from intact versus postdivorce families show long-term differences in internalizing and externalizing problems. Furthermore, possible differences in the development of this problem behavior between offspring from intact and postdivorce families are examined, i.e., possible differences in growth curves of internalizing and externalizing problems are investigated. Longitudinal multilevel analyses reveal long-term differences in internalizing and externalizing problems according to family structure. Adolescents and young adults growing up in postdivorce families display more internalizing and externalizing problem behavior than youngsters of intact families. The development of these 2 types of problem behavior does not differ by gender or family structure. That is, the shape of the growth curves of internalizing and externalizing problem behavior is similar for boys and girls and also for youngsters from intact and postdivorce families.

Key Words

adolescents divorce longitudinal development of internalizing and externalizing problem behavior 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Inge VanderValk
    • 1
  • Ed Spruijt
    • 2
  • Martijn de Goede
    • 3
  • Cora Maas
    • 4
  • Wim Meeus
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Child and Adolescent StudiesUtrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands
  2. 2.The University of UtrechtThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Department of Methodology and StatisticsUtrecht UniversityThe Netherlands
  4. 4.Department of Methodology and StatisticsUtrecht UniversityThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Utrecht UniversityThe Netherlands

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