Child behaviors become problematic and these affect not only the family, but also in social and academic functioning. As working in a low-banding secondary school in Hong Kong, I have found a lot of students who are burdened with different behavior problems. These externalizing behaviors affect not only their academic achievement, but also their relationships with teachers, peers, and family, but further disrupt their future. Early intervention is essential to prevent progressive decline in children's behavior. The principal goal for this review is to investigate different risk factors that contribute in child behavior problem.
Child Behavior Problem
Children's behavior problems are divided into two major dimensions, they are internalizing and externalizing expressions (Henricson & Rydell, 2006). Externalizing problems are behaviors that being harmful, disruptive, and impulsive. These behaviors are mostly stable and usually associated with long term negative outcomes (Henricson & Rydell, 2006). Internalized problems are signified by emotions and moods. These symptoms are usually less consistent and cannot predict outcomes (Henricson & Rydell, 2006).
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According to Achenbach's Child Behavior Checklist, children's behaviors are identified into different syndromes. "Syndromes" refers to problems that tend to occur together. The eight syndromes that Achenbach had identified are Withdrawn, Somatic Complaints, Anxious/Depressed, Social Problems, Thought Problems, Attention Problems, Delinquent Behavior, and Aggressive Behavior. Five of the eight syndromes are grouped into Internalized and Externalized Behavior Problems (Achenbach, 1991).
"Internalizing" is also called "Personality Problems" and "Inhibition". Three syndromes, Withdrawn, Somatic Complaints, and Anxious/Depressed, are grouped under this heading. This group reflects children's emotional problems (Achenbach, 1991). "Externalizing" is variously called "Conduct Problems" and "Aggression". Two syndromes, Delinquent Behavior and Aggressive Behavior, are grouped under this heading. This group shows children's behavioral problems (Achenbach, 1991). Aggression is defined as acts that impose harm on others (Aylward, 2003). Aggressive Behavior is under the grouping of Externalizing (Achenbach, 1991). Externalized aggressive behaviors are stable and are associated with long term negative outcomes (Henricson & Rydell, 2006).
There are different risks factors that lead to children behavior problem, including children's personal factors, risks from school, parents' marital relationship, parent-child relationship, and parenting and discipline style.
Child's Personal Factors
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Stacks (2005) conceptualized risk factors for externalizing behavior by using ecological framework. Children's temperament, developmental problems, and gender determine the severity of initial behavior problems. Personal factors, such as genetic factors, cognitive deficit, and hyperactive, also plays an important role in affecting children's behavior. Children who have behavior problems tend to have cognitive deficit, they are lower problem solving skills (Pettit, 2004).
Research shows that depressive symptoms predict antisocial behavior (Vieno, Kiesner, Pastore, & Santinello, 2008). The correlations between depressed symptoms and behavioral problems were significant. This finding was also consistent with past studies by Patterson et al.(1992) and Beyers & Loeber (2003). However the study suggested that the impacts of depressive symptoms to antisocial behavior occur within relatively short period of time (Vieno, Kiesner, Pastore, & Santinello, 2008).
Risks from School