Buffering the negative effects of maternal alcohol problems on child behavior

Nicola A. Conners-Burrow, Lorraine M. McKelvey, Joy R. Pemberton, Glenn R. Mesman, Khiela J. Holmes, Robert Bradley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

Our objective was to examine how mothers' warmth can protect children from the negative effects of maternal alcohol problems on children's externalizing behavior and, alternately, how harsh parenting can exacerbate the problem. We used data from 1,563 families eligible for Early Head Start and assessed when children were age 5 and again at age 11. We examined whether mothers' warmth or harsh parenting at age 5 moderated the effect of maternal alcohol problems on children's behavior problems at age 11. Results indicated that mothers' symptoms of alcohol problems when children were age 5 predicted greater externalizing behavior problems (aggression and rule breaking) when children were age 11. Aggression and rule-breaking behaviors, externalizing behaviors commonly associated with maternal alcohol problems, were lessened when mothers were warm and did not engage in harsh parenting techniques. Our findings highlight the importance of positive parenting techniques in high-risk families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)576-584
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
Volume29
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015

Keywords

  • Aggression
  • Harshness
  • Maternal alcohol problems
  • Maternal warmth
  • Rule breaking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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  • Cite this

    Conners-Burrow, N. A., McKelvey, L. M., Pemberton, J. R., Mesman, G. R., Holmes, K. J., & Bradley, R. (2015). Buffering the negative effects of maternal alcohol problems on child behavior. Journal of Family Psychology, 29(4), 576-584. https://doi.org/10.1037/fam0000121