Externalizing behaviors among adolescents continue to concern researchers and clinicians nationwide, especially among Latinos who are part of the largest and fastest growing minority population in the U. S. This dissertation begins by describing an eco-developmental model, which provides the theoretical framework used to conceptualize the systemic factors being studied and by reviewing the relevant literature regarding the influence of parental warmth, parental behavioral control, the adolescent-teacher relationship, and academic achievement on externalizing behavior among Latino adolescents. This study uses the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health survey (Add Health) data to analyze direct and indirect effects of parenting and school-related factors on externalizing behavior among Latino adolescents over four waves of time. Structural Equation Modeling (SEM), latent growth curve modeling, bootstrapping, and latent scoring were all employed to test the hypothesized models. Results indicated that higher levels of maternal warmth, the adolescent-teacher relationship and academic achievement were all negatively associated with initial levels of externalizing behavior and in some cases negatively predicted the rate of change of externalizing behavior. Paternal warmth, behavioral control and academic achievement were all found to be positively associated with academic achievement. In terms of indirect effects, paternal warmth negatively predicted initial levels and the slope of externalizing behavior through academic achievement. Behavioral control was also negatively predictive of initial levels and the slope of externalizing behavior through academic achievement. Finally, direct and indirect effects were found between the adolescent-teacher relationship and both initial levels and the slope of externalizing behavior through academic achievement. Implications for these findings are discussed according to an eco-developmental framework, and culturally appropriate recommendations for clinicians and educators are offered to facilitate the increase of parental warmth and behavioral control in Latino families and for improving the adolescent-teacher relationship in school systems. A culturally adapted parenting training model and a strong evidence-based, family therapy intervention is recommended to clinicians to address these issues in Latino families and critical race theory (CRT) and Latino critical race theory (LatCrit) are implemented to inform recommendations offered to educators to address the academic-specific factors influencing externalizing behaviors among Latino adolescents.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Marriage and Family Therapy



Date Submitted


Document Type





Latino adolescents, externalizing behavior, parenting, academics