Intergenerational transmission of internalising and externalising behaviours across three generations: Gender-specific pathways

Hyoun K. Kim, Deborah M. Capaldi, Katherine C. Pears, David C.R. Kerr, Lee D. Owen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

69 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Few studies have examined gender-specific pathways in the intergenerational transmission of internalising and externalising behaviours across three generations. Aim: The current study considered both parental figures' internalising and externalising symptoms simultaneously and tested path models of the transmission of internalising and externalising symptoms from Generation 1 (G1) to Generation 2 (G2) and from G2 to Generation 3 (G3) by focusing on gender-specific pathways. Method: The study used data from the Oregon Youth Study of 206 young men and two associated studies of their intimate partners (Couples Study) and children (Three-Generational Study) over 20 years. Results: Findings indicated that, in general, mothers' internalising behaviour showed robust influence on offspring's internalising symptoms across three generations, regardless of gender of the child. G2 men's externalising behaviour was further predicted by G1 mothers' internalising as well as externalising behaviour, albeit the latter was only marginally significant. G3 girls' internalising and externalising behaviour was predicted by their fathers' corresponding behaviour. Overall, fathers' influence on their sons was limited. Conclusion: The findings shed important light on potential gender-specific mechanisms of intergenerational transmission of internalising and externalising behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-141
Number of pages17
JournalCriminal Behaviour and Mental Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009 May 20


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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