Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Learning Sciences and Human Development

Committee Chair

Kristin L. Moilanen

Committee Co-Chair

Carol Markstrom

Committee Member

Aaron Metzger.


Early childhood externalizing behaviors are a known risk factor for future problem behaviors (e.g., poor achievement, delinquency). The present study seeks to illuminate the pathway of early childhood externalizing behaviors to five adolescent delinquency types (i.e., violent offenses, property offenses, illicit drug use, licit drug use, and minor offenses), in addition to overall delinquency. Study data came from two waves of the Children of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth-1979 (CNLSY-79; N = 855, 52.4% male, 24.1% Hispanic, 36.6% Black, and 39.1% white). Boys engaged in higher levels of violent and property crimes, and black youth were less likely to engage in substance use than white teens. Contrary to predictions, externalizing problems at ages 4-5 years were not directly associated with any form of adolescent delinquency. Instead, the combinations of high levels of early externalizing and low levels of spanking led to high illicit substance use, and for European American teens only, high externalizing predicted involvement in property crimes. These findings suggest that risk factors vary by delinquency type.