Gender differences observed in interpersonal and self-critical vulnerabilities, reactivity
to stressful life events, quality of relationships, and self-concepts inform a multivariate
theoretical model of the moderating effects of gender on internalizing and externalizing
problems in adolescence. To test this model, data were collected in a 1-year prospective
study from an ethnically diverse sample of 460 middle school students. Increases in
girls' internalizing symptoms, compared with boys', were partly explained by greater
stability in girls' interpersonal vulnerabilities and greater magnitude in coefficients
linking girls' relationships with parents and peers and internalizing problems. Boys'
risks for externalizing problems, compared with girls', were partly explained by the
greater stability in boys' vulnerability to self-criticism. Coefficients for most
pathways in the model are similar for boys and girls.