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J Dev Behav Pediatr. 1996 Aug;17(4):222-8.

The 2-year stability of parental perceptions of child vulnerability and parental overprotection.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Ohio State University, College of Medicine, Children's Hospital, Columbus, USA.


Clinicians often identify parent-child relationships that are believed to be problematic for the child's future emotional growth, yet there are minimal outcome data on which to base anticipatory guidance. This 2-year follow-up study examined the stability and child behavioral correlates of parental perceptions of increased child vulnerability and parental overprotection. Of 192 potential participants, 114 parents (93% mothers, 86% white, 75% married, 90% middle-upper socioeconomic status) with children age 4 to 7 years successfully completed the Parent Protection Scale, Child Vulnerability Scale, Child Behavior Checklist 4-18, and the Parental Bonding Instrument. The 2-year stability of high parental overprotection was 37%; for high parental perception of child vulnerability, it was 31%. High perceived vulnerability at enrollment was significantly associated with both internalizing (somatic complaints, anxious/depressed) and externalizing (aggressive) behaviors at follow-up. A history of overprotection in the parent's childhood was not associated with current parental report of overprotective behaviors toward the child.

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