Development and Psychopathology

Regular Articles

Effects of childhood conduct problems and family adversity on health, health behaviors, and service use in early adulthood: Tests of developmental pathways involving adolescent risk taking and depression

Todd I. Herrenkohla1 c1, Rick Kostermana1, W. Alex Masona2, J. David Hawkinsa1, Carolyn A. McCartya1 and Elizabeth McCauleya1

a1 University of Washington, Seattle

a2 National Research Institute for Child and Family Studies, Boys Town


This study examined a developmental, cascade model that includes childhood risks of conduct problems and family adversity at age 10–12; conduct problems, risk taking, and internalizing during adolescence; and adult outcomes of conduct problems, poor health, health risks, depression, and service use at ages 27 and 30. Analyses showed that childhood conduct problems predicted adolescent conduct problems and risk taking, which in turn, predicted adult conduct problems, health risks, depression, and service use. Childhood family adversity predicted adolescent internalizing, a predictor itself of poor health, depression, and service use at age 27. There was considerable continuity in the same adult outcomes measured over a 3-year period, as well as some cross-domain prediction from variables at age 27 to measures at age 30. Developmental patterns found in these data offer implications for future research and prevention.


c1 Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Todd I. Herrenkohl, Social Development Research Group, 9725 3rd Avenue NE, Suite 401, Seattle, WA 98115; E-mail:


This research was supported by Grants 1R01DA09679-11 and 9R01DA 021426-08 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and Grant 21548 from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the funding agencies.