Behavior Patterns of Young Children and Their Offspring: A Two-Generation Study

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Data from a random cohort of residents in a 2-county area were used to determine the stability in 2 major dimensions of childhood behavior between 2 generations. The 1st generation was assessed at mean age 7, and their offspring were assessed at age 2 years. Measures were used in latent-variable structural equation models to test the hypotheses. Strong stability in these behavior patterns in the 1st generation was shown between early childhood and a reassessment 8 years later. There was a significant stability between generations in the inhibited behavior pattern but not in the difficult pattern. This relationship was stronger when parents had been assessed at an age closer to that of their toddler offspring. Findings are consistent for mother–offspring, father–offspring, and daughter and son subsamples.

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