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Unsupervised self-care predicts conduct problems: The moderating roles of hostile aggression and gender.


Despite widespread speculation about the detrimental effect of unsupervised self-care on adolescent outcomes, little is known about which children are particularly prone to problem behaviors when left at home without adult supervision. The present research used data from a longitudinal study of 674 Mexican-origin children residing in the United States to examine the prospective effect of unsupervised self-care on conduct problems, and the moderating roles of hostile aggression and gender. Results showed that unsupervised self-care was related to increases over time in conduct problems such as lying, stealing, and bullying. However, unsupervised self-care only led to conduct problems for boys and for children with an aggressive temperament. The main and interactive effects held for both mother-reported and observational-rated hostile aggression and after controlling for potential confounds.

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