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Differential susceptibility to environmental influences the role of early temperament and parenting in the development of externalizing problems

  • Objective: A difficult or undercontrolled temperament, as well as harsh parental discipline or a lack of warmth, has long been regarded as risk factors for the development of externalizing problems. In addition, it has been suggested that children with difficult temperament are especially susceptible to rearing influences. We investigated the impact of early temperament and parenting and their interactions on externalizing behavior at school age. Methods: Participants were 148 boys and 160 girls from a prospective longitudinal study on a high-risk sample. At ages 3 months and 2 years, temperament was assessed by a highly structured parent interview and standardized behavioral observations. Maternal parenting was assessed by videotaped behavioral observation and a parent questionnaire. Externalizing problems at age 8 years were measured by the Child Behavior Checklist. Results: Using hierarchical linear regression analyses, we found that externalizing problems were predicted by psychosocial adversity and poor self-control, whereas noObjective: A difficult or undercontrolled temperament, as well as harsh parental discipline or a lack of warmth, has long been regarded as risk factors for the development of externalizing problems. In addition, it has been suggested that children with difficult temperament are especially susceptible to rearing influences. We investigated the impact of early temperament and parenting and their interactions on externalizing behavior at school age. Methods: Participants were 148 boys and 160 girls from a prospective longitudinal study on a high-risk sample. At ages 3 months and 2 years, temperament was assessed by a highly structured parent interview and standardized behavioral observations. Maternal parenting was assessed by videotaped behavioral observation and a parent questionnaire. Externalizing problems at age 8 years were measured by the Child Behavior Checklist. Results: Using hierarchical linear regression analyses, we found that externalizing problems were predicted by psychosocial adversity and poor self-control, whereas no main effect for restrictive parenting or maternal empathy was found. Fearful-inhibited boys were positively affected by empathic and sensitive parenting, whereas girls who were low in self-control and/or fearful developed less externalizing problems with restrictive parenting. Conclusion: Our results partly support the differential susceptibility hypothesis. In addition, they point toward gender-specific pathways in the development of externalizing problems.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Martina Pitzer, Christine Jennen-Steinmetz, Günter EsserGND, Martin H. Schmidt, Manfred Laucht
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.comppsych.2010.10.017
ISSN:0010-440X (print)
Parent Title (English):Comprehensive psychiatry : official journal of the American Psychopathological Association
Publisher:Elsevier
Place of publication:Philadelphia
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2011
Year of Completion:2011
Release Date:2017/03/26
Volume:52
Issue:6
Pagenumber:9
First Page:650
Last Page:658
Funder:Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft at the University of Heidelberg, Germany [SFB 258]; Federal Ministry for Education and Research-"Baden-Wuerttemberg Consortium for Addiction Research" [01EB0110]
Organizational units:Humanwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Psychologie
Peer Review:Referiert