Parent and Child Risk Profiles as Predictors of Response to a Conduct Problem Preventive Intervention

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Current evidence-based prevention programming targeting child externalizing problems demonstrates modest overall effect sizes and is largely ineffective for a sizable proportion of youth who participate. However, our understanding of the youth and family characteristics associated with response to specific programming is quite limited. The current study used child and family risk profiles as predictors of response trajectories to the Early Risers conduct problem preventive intervention. A sample of 240 kindergarten-aged youth displaying elevated school-based aggression were randomized by school to either the Early Risers intervention or a control condition. Using a number of child and family risk variables, a latent profile analysis produced a solution consisting of five unique risk profiles. Three low and mixed risk profiles were associated with a limited response to the intervention. One high-risk profile characterized by maladaptive parenting and elevated child externalizing demonstrated notably improved trajectories of externalizing behavior over a 3-year period relative to the control condition. Another high-risk profile characterized by inconsistent discipline, high parental distress, and elevated child internalizing and externalizing symptoms seemed to have positive developmental trends disrupted by the intervention relative to the control condition, potentially consistent with an iatrogenic effect relative to the control condition. The study results support continued efforts to use broader risk profiles to examine heterogeneity in response to preventive interventions and, with replication, will have implications for intervention tailoring.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1308-1320
Number of pages13
JournalPrevention Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported in part by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, Society for Prevention Research.


  • Conduct problems
  • Intervention response
  • Person-centered analysis
  • Preventive intervention

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.


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