Relations between parental affect and parenting behaviors: A meta-analytic review

Sandra Yu Rueger, Rachael L. Katz, Heather J. Risser, M. Christine Lovejoy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


Objective. The goal of the present investigation was to provide a meta-analytic review of the research on affect and parenting in non-clinical samples. Design. The authors conducted analyses on the overall mean effect size for 63 studies (k = 18,211). Affect was coded as either positive or negative, and parenting behavior was coded as either supportive-positive or harsh-negative. Moderators included definition of affect, time frame of measurement, reporter, child age, and parent gender. Results. The authors' analyses support the association between parental affect and parenting behavior, and this relation was consistent across types of affect and parenting, as well as gender of parent. Significant methodological moderators of these relations include time frame match and reporter match. Child age moderated the relation between negative affect and supportive-positive parenting, but not harsh-negative parenting. Last, both negative and positive affect showed specificity in their association with parenting behavior. Conclusion. Parental affect appears to be a reliable correlate of parenting behaviors in the general population. In addition, consistent with theory (T. Dix, 1991), negative affect was more strongly related to hostile parenting, and positive affect was more strongly related to supportive parenting. Methodological factors, such as time frame of measurement and reporter, as well as demographic variables, should be carefully considered in the design and interpretation of future studies of parental affect and parenting behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-33
Number of pages33
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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