Transactional relations between early child temperament, structured parenting, and child outcomes: A three-wave longitudinal study
Development and Psychopathology
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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2019. While child self-regulation is shaped by the environment (e.g., the parents' caregiving behaviors), children also play an active role in influencing the care they receive, indicating that children's individual differences should be integrated in models relating early care to children's development. We assessed 409 children's observed temperamental behavioral inhibition (BI), effortful control (EC), and the primary caregiver's parenting at child ages 3 and 5. Parents reported on child behavior problems at child ages 3, 5, and 8. Mediation analyses were conducted to examine relations between child temperament and parenting in predicting child problems. BI at age 3 was positively associated with structured parenting at age 5, which was negatively related to child internalizing and attention-academic problems at age 8. In contrast, parenting at child age 3 did not predict child BI or EC at age 5, nor did age 3 EC predict parenting at age 5. Findings indicate that child behavior may shape the development of caregiving and, in turn, long-term child adjustment, suggesting that studies of caregiving and child outcomes should consider the role of child temperament toward developing more informative models of child-environment interplay.