Development and Psychopathology


Pathways from harsh parenting to adolescent antisocial behavior: A multidomain test of gender moderation

Mandi L. Burnettea1 c1, Assaf Oshria1a2, Rachael Laxa1, Dayton Richardsa1 and Shayne N. Ragbeera1

a1 University of Rochester

a2 Mt. Hope Family Center, University of Rochester


We tested for gender moderation within a multidomain model of antisocial behavior (ASB) among community youth, drawn from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods study. Youths (N = 1,639) were 9 to 12 years old at baseline and were followed for two additional waves, spaced approximately 2.5 years apart. We hypothesized that harsh and physically coercive parenting, a familial level risk factor, would impact individual level risk factors for ASB, such as childhood temperament ratings of emotionality and inhibitory control, and preadolescent externalizing and internalizing symptoms, as well as involvement with antisocial peers. We further hypothesized that this process and its impact on ASB would be moderated by gender. We used both multiple indicator multiple causes and multiple group analyses to test for gender moderation and a structural equation modeling multiple mediation framework to evaluate the strength of indirect effects. We tested the role of family, individual, and peer level influences on ASB, after accounting for the role of known contextual factors, including poverty, race, and neighborhood. Our overall model fit the data well for males and females, indicating harsh parenting, disinhibition, emotionality, and peers exert a strong influence on risk for ASB. Gender moderated the pathway from harsh parenting to externalizing behavior, such that this was a significant pathway for girls, but not boys. We discussed the importance of these findings with regard to intervention planning for youth at risk for ASB and future gender-informed models of ASB.

(Online publication July 11 2012)


We thank the National Institute of Justice and the John D. and Catherine MacArthur Foundation for the collection and archiving of the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods data. We also thank Rachel Liebman for her helpful comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript.