Prediction of Age 30 Internalizing and Externalizing Scores from Family Arguments and Violence During Adolescence

The Simmons Longitudinal Study began with assessment of children entering kindergarten in a New England community. Longitudinal assessments over three decades included numerous family and child variables. Pardis et al. (2009) used data obtained when the participants (N = 346) were adolescents to test prediction of subsequent Internalizing and Externalizing scores on the Young Adult Self-Report (YASR; forerunner of the Adult Self-Report). After adjusting for many risk factors, the researchers found that family violence reported by participants at age 18 predicted elevated Internalizing (odds ratio = 4.6) and Externalizing scores (odds ratio = 5.9) on the YASR at age 30. Participants’ reports of increased family arguments at age 15 also predicted age 30 scores for Internalizing (odds ratio = 3.7) but not Externalizing problems. Both family arguments and family violence additionally predicted elevated rates of psychiatric diagnoses made from individual interviews on the Diagnostic Interview Schedule for DSM-IV (DIS-IV). The researchers concluded that the results “support a robust and predictive association between both family arguments and physical violence and deficits in later functioning” (p. 296).

Reference: Paradis, A.D., Reinherz, H.Z., Giaconia, R.M., Beardslee, W.R., Ward, K., & Fitzmaurice, G.M. (2009). Long-term impact of family arguments and physical violence on adult functioning at age 30 years: Findings from the Simmons longitudinal study. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 48, 290-298.