Infant temperament, parenting, and externalizing behavior in first grade: A test of the differential susceptibility hypothesis

Robert Bradley, Robert F. Corwyn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

144 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: This study examines the differential susceptibility hypothesis as it pertains to relations between infant temperament, parenting, and behavior problems in first grade. Method: Data from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care were used in a series of hierarchical regression analyses focused on interactions between three aspects of parenting (harshness, sensitivity, productive activity) and temperament as they affect teacher-reported externalizing behavior in first grade. Step #1 included family income-to-needs, maternal education, gender, life events, and amount of child care as control variables, plus infant temperament and the three parenting variables. Step #2 included a single interaction term, the interaction between one of the key parenting variables and child temperament. Results: Results showed stronger relations between maternal sensitivity and behavior problems for children with difficult temperaments. Likewise, relations between opportunities for productivity and behavior problems were stronger for children with difficult temperaments. Trends were in the same direction for harsh parenting but did not quite reach statistical significance. Conclusions: Having access to experiences that promote coping and build self-regulatory capacities seems particularly valuable for children with difficult temperaments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)124-131
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines
Volume49
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2008
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Temperament
Parenting
Child Care
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (U.S.)
Maternal Behavior
Regression Analysis
Mothers
Education

Keywords

  • Externalizing behavior
  • Parenting
  • Temperament

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

Cite this

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abstract = "Background: This study examines the differential susceptibility hypothesis as it pertains to relations between infant temperament, parenting, and behavior problems in first grade. Method: Data from the NICHD Study of Early Child Care were used in a series of hierarchical regression analyses focused on interactions between three aspects of parenting (harshness, sensitivity, productive activity) and temperament as they affect teacher-reported externalizing behavior in first grade. Step #1 included family income-to-needs, maternal education, gender, life events, and amount of child care as control variables, plus infant temperament and the three parenting variables. Step #2 included a single interaction term, the interaction between one of the key parenting variables and child temperament. Results: Results showed stronger relations between maternal sensitivity and behavior problems for children with difficult temperaments. Likewise, relations between opportunities for productivity and behavior problems were stronger for children with difficult temperaments. Trends were in the same direction for harsh parenting but did not quite reach statistical significance. Conclusions: Having access to experiences that promote coping and build self-regulatory capacities seems particularly valuable for children with difficult temperaments.",
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