A Developmental Model of Childrenís Early Conduct Problems:
Theory, Validation, and Implications*




Daniel S. Shaw

University of Pittsburgh





*An unabridged version of the model and findings presented in this paper can be found in Shaw DS, Bell RQ, and & Gilliom M (2000). A truly early starter model of antisocial behavior revisited. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review; 3: 155-172.


The author is indebted to the many contributors who assisted in forging the model, an even greater number of staff who assisted in collecting and analyzing the data, and the research participants who made the study possible.This research was supported by grants MH 46925 and MH 50907 awarded to the author from the National Institute of Mental Health.




This paper describes a developmental model of the origins of early conduct problems.Several of the modelís primary tenets have now been validated in two samples of at-risk children followed prospectively from infancy to school-age.In both cohorts, child, family, and sociodemographic factors all play a significant role in the development of early conduct problems.In particular, the quality of the caregiving environment during the childís second year differentiates clinical impairment according to both parent and teacher report six years later.We conclude by making recommendations for basic and applied research.