There are many ways to explain the way a child is the way they are and why they act the way they do. One explanation is through intergenerational transmission. Intergenerational transmission is a process that leads to perseverance of one’s culture, can be selective, and is a bidirectional process (from parent to child or child to parent) (Scabini & Marta, 2006; Schonpflug, 2001). There are many different characteristics and/or temperaments that can be intergenerationally transmitted, such as values, parenting behaviors, gender, and much more. Another trait that can be intergenerationally transmitted, from parent to child, is externalizing problem behaviors. An externalizing problem behavior “refers to a grouping of behavior problems that are manifested in children’s outward behavior and reflect the child negatively acting on the external environment” (Liu, 2004, p. 94). This literature review will examine the intergenerational transmission of externalizing problem behaviors. The vast research on the intergenerational transmission of externalizing problem behaviors, that will be discussed, will be between two generations and three generations. The externalizing problem behaviors that will be examined are antisocial, conduct, and aggression, and each of these will be defined using Merriam-Webster.com.
Parenting and Family. There are several factors that need to be examined when discussing the intergenerational transmission of externalizing problem behaviors. Considering that the family plays a major role in the socialization of children, the first factor that needs to be examined is the role that parenting and family play in the intergenerational transmission (Kalmuss, 1984). There are several studies that examine this role. Bailey, Hill, Oesterle, and Hawkins (2009) examined “parental monitoring and harsh parenting as potential mechanisms in the intergenerational transmission of externalizing behavior” (p. 1216). The participants of the study included 808 people from the second generation, their parents (first generation), and their children (third generation). The participants are from the Seattle area public schools, which generally serve high risk families and neighborhoods. The results showed that parenting practices and child externalizing problem behaviors can be intergenerationally transmitted (Bailey, Hill, Oesterle, and Hawkins, 2009). There was an association between the second generations externalizing problem behaviors between ages 13 and 14 and the externalizing problem behaviors of their children between ages 6 and 14. Although there was a connection between parenting and externalizing problems behaviors, the results were mixed. Harsh discipline was related with child externalizing problems behaviors between both sets of generations, but parental monitoring was not related to child externalizing problem behaviors between both sets of generations (Bailey, et al. 2009). ...