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J Genet Psychol. 2013 Jul-Aug;174(4):429-49.

Differential susceptibility to the effects of child temperament on maternal warmth and responsiveness.

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  • 1Department of Education, Kyungpook National University, South Korea. elee@knu.ac.kr

Abstract

A child's difficult temperament can elicit negative parenting and inhibit positive parenting behavior. However, mothers appear to be differentially susceptible to child temperament. The author examined the differential susceptibility to the effects of a child's temperament on the mother-child interaction style (i.e., maternal warmth and responsiveness) as well as plausible reasons for these differences. With 2,130 mothers of 14-month-old infants (51% male) as subjects, a regression mixture analysis identified three latent classes with varying associations between the child's temperament and mother-child interactions: nonsusceptible class, susceptible-high class, and susceptible-low class. Mother-reported depression was most predictive of class membership. Latent class differences in the maternal self-efficacy, marital conflict, and coparenting alliance were also found. On the other hand, family income, maternal employment, and the child's gender were not significant predictors of class membership when individual and contextual resources were considered. Overall, mothers with abundant individual and family resources (i.e., less depressed, highly self-efficacious, few marital conflicts, and high coparenting alliance with their spouse) showed that their interaction style with a child would vary according to the child's temperament, whereas mothers with slender resources interacted with their children in a less warm and responsive manner, regardless of the child's temperament. The implications of these findings are also discussed.

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