Date of Degree
PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Lee Anna Clark
Substantial empirical literatures link executive functioning (EF) and temperament, respectively, to externalizing behaviors (e.g., hyperactivity, impulsivity, conduct problems), but they rarely have been considered jointly. As indices of presumed brain function, neither neuropsychological scores nor temperament traits alone are sufficient as a comprehensive developmental model of externalizing behaviors. The current study aimed to examine the triangular relation among temperament traits, EF, and externalizing behaviors in a community sample of male youth. Participants included 174 male youth 11 to 16 years (M =13.4; SD=1.4) and their mothers. Youth were administered a comprehensive battery of neuropsychological measures tapping the broad domain of executive functions and overall intellectual functioning and completed a personality measure assessing both primary traits and broad temperaments. Mothers reported on their son's temperament and behaviors. Results indicated that, as expected, high Negative Temperament and Disinhibition were associated with both youth and mother reports of externalizing behaviors, with similar cross-informant associations. Specific EF dimensions were correlated with both temperament and externalizing behaviors and provided an incremental contribution above and beyond temperament in explaining externalizing behaviors. Results of the study contribute to the extant literature concerning the dimension of externalizing and inform future research on developing a comprehensive etiological model of externalizing behaviors.
Copyright 2009 Robert David Latzman