Pathways to children's externalizing behavior: A three-generation study

Judith S. Brook, Chenshu Zhang, Elinor B. Balka, David W. Brook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


In this study, based on Family Interactional Theory (FIT), the authors tested a longitudinal model of the intergenerational effects of the grandmothers parent-child relationships and the grandparents smoking on the grandchildren's externalizing behavior via parents psychological symptoms, tobacco use, and child rearing. Using Mplus, the authors obtained a structural equation model that demonstrated generational associations from grandmothers (G1) to parents (G2) to their oldest children (G3) and thus was in accord with FIT. They identified a pathway from the grandmothers' parenting to the grandchildren's externalizing behavior via the parents psychological symptoms, their smoking, and their child rearing. Parents psychological symptoms in adolescence were associated with their tobacco use in their late twenties, controlling for the continuity of their psychological symptoms and their tobacco use. This 3-generational model adds to the literature on parent-child relationships (G1), smoking from adolescence to early adulthood (G2), and externalizing behavior in the G3 child.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-197
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Genetic Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • externalizing
  • intergenerational transmission
  • parenting
  • smoking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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