Child's Temperament Impacts Susceptibility to Parenting

More symptoms of negative or poor parenting in children with low effortful control

FRIDAY, Aug. 5 (HealthDay News) -- A child's temperament impacts the effects of negative parenting, with more symptoms reported for children who are low in effortful control, according to a study published online July 30 in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology.

Cara J. Kiff, from the University of Washington in Seattle, and colleagues investigated temperament as a moderator of maternal parenting behaviors, including warmth, negativity, autonomy granting, and guidance, among 214 children aged 8 to 12 years. Parenting observation and questionnaires measuring child temperament and adjustments were collected from a community sample. Over three years, trajectories of depression and anxiety were assessed.

The investigators found that the pattern of parenting as a predictor of internalizing symptoms was dependent on the temperament of the child. Maternal negativity was predictive of depression in children with low fear. Sensitivity to maternal negativity, autonomy granting, and guidance were moderated by effortful control. More symptoms were reported in the presence of negative or poor-fitting parenting for children low in effortful control.

"This study lends partial support to the prediction that children with temperamental vulnerabilities would be more susceptible to the effects of negative parenting," the authors write.

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