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Dev Psychol. 2012 Jul;48(4):987-1002. doi: 10.1037/a0026321. Epub 2011 Nov 28.

Differential parenting and children's behavioral problems: curvilinear associations and mother-father combined effects.

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Department of Human Development and Applied Psychology, University of Toronto, 252 Bloor Street West, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1V6, Canada.


In this study the associations between mothers' and fathers' differential parenting and children's oppositional and emotional problems were examined. A curvilinear relationship between differential parenting and children's outcomes was hypothesized, as well as the combined effect of mothers' and fathers' parenting. Data came from a community sample of 599 two-parent families with multiple children per family and were analyzed using a cross-classified multilevel model. Results showed that both family average parenting and differential parenting explained unique variance in children's outcomes. The curvilinear hypothesis was supported for oppositional behavior but not for emotional problems. The effects of mother and father positivity were found to be additive for both family average parenting and differential parenting, but for negativity there was evidence for multiplicative effects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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