Although problematic parenting has been consistently associated with behavior problems in youths, prospective links between early parenting and childhood behavior problems are less well established. This study examined the association of maternal responsiveness (MRes) during infancy and behavior problems in middle childhood (N = 77). MRes was significantly associated with disruptive behavior problems but was unrelated to attention problems. Absence of MRes during infancy increased the risk of disruptive behavior problems in middle childhood, even with concurrent parenting and established risk factors for disruptive behavior controlled. MRes also interacted with concurrent family risk to predict disruptive behavior symptoms. These findings underscore the importance of early parenting for developmental pathways to disruptive behavior disorders in high-risk youths. The identification of a relatively modifiable early risk factor for disruptive behavior problems has important implications for prevention.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Life-span and Life-course Studies