Objective: Previous studies on developmental trajectories have used ad hoc definitions of oppositional defiant behaviors (ODB), which makes it difficult to compare results. This article defines developmental trajectories of ODB from ages 3-5 based on five different standard measurements derived from three separate instruments. Method: A sample of 622 three-year-old preschoolers, followed up at ages 4, 5, and 6, was assessed with the five measures of oppositionality answered by parents and teachers. Growth-Mixture-Modeling (GMM) estimated separate developmental trajectories for each ODB measure for ages 3 to 5. Results: The number of classes-trajectories obtained in each GMM depended on the ODB measure, but two clear patterns emerged: four trajectories (persistent low, decreasers, increasers/high increasers, persistent moderate/persistent high) or three trajectories (persistent low, decreasers, increasers/high increasers). Persistent high trajectories accounted for 4.4%-9.5% of the children. The trajectories emerging from the different ODB measures at ages 3 to 5 discriminated disruptive disorders, comorbidity, use of services, and impairment at age 6, and globally showed a similar pattern, summarizing longitudinal information on oppositionality in preschool children in a similar way. Conclusions: Trajectories resulting from standard scales of the questionnaires have predictive validity for identifying relevant clinical outcomes, but are measure-specific. The results contribute to knowledge about the development of ODB in preschool children. © 2014 Ezpeleta et al.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere101089
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jun 2014


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