- Relations among child negative emotionality, parenting stress, and maternal sensitive responsiveness in early childhood
- Parenting: Science and Practice
- Volume | Issue number
- 8 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- The Kohnstamm Instituut
This short-term longitudinal study focuses on relations between preschool-aged childrens' perceived "difficult" temperament (defined as high negative emotionality) and observed maternal sensitive responsiveness in the context of maternal parenting stress. Design. Participants were fifty-nine 3-year-olds and their mothers. Mothers completed questionnaires for child temperament and parenting stress. Maternal sensitive responsiveness was observed during a structured play session in the home three to five months later. Results. The relation between higher levels of child negative emotionality and greater maternal sensitive responsiveness was qualified by an interaction between parenting stress and sex of the child. In boys, higher levels of negative emotionality were associated with greater maternal sensitive responsiveness, but only for mothers experiencing low parenting stress. In girls, higher levels of negative emotionality were associated with greater maternal sensitive responsiveness, but only for mothers experiencing high parenting stress. Conclusion. The degree to which mothers from middle to high socioeconomic backgrounds can adapt their behavior to the needs of their children depends on child negative emotionality, experienced parenting stress, and the sex of the child.
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