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J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol. 2011;40(3):434-44. doi: 10.1080/15374416.2011.563469.

The comparison and interdependence of maternal and paternal influences on young children's behavior and resilience.

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Department of Education, University of Oxford, Oxford OX2 6PY, United Kingdom. lars-erik.malmberg@


We investigated how mothers' and fathers' depressed mood and father-child and mother-child relationship predicted preschool children's problem behavior. The sample was 11,286 continuously intact, two-parent biological families of the United Kingdom's Millennium Cohort Study. We found that mother-child relationship and maternal depressed mood had larger effects on children's problem behavior than father-child relationship and paternal depressed mood. The effect of paternal depressed mood was completely mediated by quality of father-child relationship. There were significant moderator effects but only on internalizing problems. There was little evidence to suggest that, among children of this developmental stage, quality of father-child relationship buffers the effect of contextual risk (i.e., promotes resilience). Quality of mother-child relationship, in contrast, buffered the effect of socioeconomic disadvantage but only on emotional symptoms.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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