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J Fam Psychol. 2001 Sep;15(3):526-45.

Coparenting, family process, and family structure: implications for preschoolers' externalizing behavior problems.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Illinois, 603 East Daniel Street, Champaign, Illinois 61820, USA.


This study examined how aspects of triadic-level family interaction relate to preschoolers' externalizing behavior problems. The quality of coparenting, family affective processes, and family structure was assessed at 3 years, and mothers, fathers, and teachers reported on children's externalizing behavior problems at 4 years. High levels of supportive coparenting and more adaptive family structures were associated with fewer externalizing behavior problems, whereas high levels of undermining coparenting and negative affect and less adaptive family structures were associated with more externalizing behavior problems. Moreover, the quality of family affectivity and family structure interacted with coparenting and appeared to influence its effects on the family. This study highlights the importance of focusing on triadic, family-level variables for understanding children's behavior problems.

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