Previous research suggests that mothers' and fathers' parenting may be differentially influenced by marital and child factors within the family. Some research indicates that marital stress is more influential in fathers' than mothers' parenting, whereas other research shows that children's difficult behavior preferentially affects mothers' parenting. The present study examined marital stress and children's externalizing behavior in middle childhood as predictors of mothers' versus fathers' consistency, monitoring, and support and care in early adolescence, and the subsequent associations of these parenting behaviors with externalizing behavior 1.5 years later. Pathways were examined within a longitudinal mediation model testing for moderation by parent gender (N = 276 mothers, N = 229 fathers). Children's externalizing behavior in middle childhood was found to more strongly inversely predict mothers' versus fathers' monitoring in early adolescence. In contrast, marital stress more strongly predicted low monitoring for fathers than for mothers. Regardless of parent gender, marital stress predicted lower levels of parental consistency, and children's externalizing behavior predicted lower levels of parental support. Mothers' monitoring and fathers' support in early adolescence predicted lower levels of externalizing behavior 1.5 years later. The results are discussed with respect to family transactions relative to parent gender and implications for intervention.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health