Understanding Disruptive Behavior Problems in Preschool Children

Susan M. Breitenstein, Carri Hill, Deborah Gross

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Disruptive behavior problems in young children are the number one reason for referral to mental health agencies. However, owing to difficulties differentiating clinically significant disruptive behaviors from typical development, a significant proportion of young children with disruptive behavior problems go unidentified and untreated. Research supports the existence of disruptive behavior disorders in young children, and early identification and treatment are critical to interrupt the trajectory of early problems to more significant and impairing difficulties. The purposes of this article were to identify and discuss disruptive behavior problems in preschool children and to introduce readers to current definitions of disruptive behavior problems and emotion regulation. A review of risk factors and underlying emotion and behavior regulation difficulties implicated in the development of disruptive behavior problems is provided. Furthermore, clinical implications for nurses in the identification of disruptive behavior problems in preschool children for pediatric nurses are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-12
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of pediatric nursing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Disruptive behavior disorders
  • Identification
  • Preschool children

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics


Dive into the research topics of 'Understanding Disruptive Behavior Problems in Preschool Children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this