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APA Journal: Family Psychology

Corporal punishment and externalizing behaviors in toddlers: The moderating role of positive and harsh parenting.Open in a New Window

This study investigated whether corporal punishment when the child was 2 years old predicted child externalizing behaviors a year later, and whether or not this association was moderated by parents’ observed behavior toward their child. Data came from 218 couples and their firstborn child. The frequency of fathers’ corporal punishment when the child was 2 years old predicted child externalizing behaviors a year later, while controlling for initial levels of child externalizing behaviors. Also, observed positive and harsh parenting moderated the relationship between corporal punishment and child externalizing behaviors. These results highlight the importance of continuing to examine the effects of a commonly used form of discipline (i.e., corporal punishment) and the parental climate in which it is used. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


Improved child problem behavior enhances the parents’ relationship quality: A randomized trial.Open in a New Window

Although a large body of literature indicates that interparental discord is a primary risk factor for child maladjustment, less research has examined children’s behavior as a predictor of the parents’ relationship quality. The goal of this randomized trial intervention study was to examine the effects of improved problem behavior in children on the parents’ relationship quality 1 year later in a community sample. One hundred couples were randomly assigned to (a) a parenting training (Triple P) or (b) an untreated control group. Interparental relationship quality, parenting behavior, and child problem behavior were assessed by means of questionnaires completed by the parents before and 2 weeks after completion of the treatment and at 6-month and 1-year follow-ups. Mother-report of improved child problem behavior and father-report of improved parenting skills predicted both partners’ relationship quality at the 1-year follow-up for the Triple P group only. The findings suggest that programs aimed at reducing child problem behavior hold promise to also enhance the couple’s relationship quality. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


Fathers’ postnatal distress, parenting self-efficacy, later parenting behavior, and children’s emotional-behavioral functioning: A longitudinal study.Open in a New Window

Fathers’ postnatal distress has been associated with subsequent emotional and behavioral problems for children; however, the mechanisms by which this occurs have received less attention. One potential pathway could be via the negative effects that father mental health problems and parenting self-efficacy (PSE) in the postnatal period have on later parenting behaviors. Using a nationally representative cohort of Australian father–child dyads (N = 3,741), the long-term relationships between fathers’ psychological distress and PSE in the postnatal period, parenting behavior when children were aged 4–5 years, and emotional-behavioral outcomes for children aged 8–9 years were explored. Path analysis indicated that high distress and low PSE in the postnatal period was associated with higher levels of hostile parenting and lower parenting consistency when children were aged 4–5 years; in turn, these were associated with poorer child outcomes at 8–9 years. These results remained significant after controlling for socioeconomic position, couple relationship quality, mothers’ and fathers’ mental health, and fathers’ concurrent parenting behavior. The pathways among PSE, parenting hostility, parenting consistency, and children’s outcomes at age 8–9 years differed for fathers of boys compared with fathers of girls. Results highlight the importance of father-inclusive assessments of postnatal mental health. Support programs targeting new fathers’ perceptions of parenting competence may be particularly important for fathers experiencing postnatal distress. For fathers, building a stronger sense of parenting competence in the postnatal period is important for later parenting behavior, which relates to children’s emotional and behavioral outcomes during middle childhood. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


Longitudinal associations between relationship quality and coparenting across the transition to parenthood: A dyadic perspective.Open in a New Window

The couple and coparenting relationship are theorized to influence each other in a reciprocal manner over time. Empirical evidence demonstrates cross-sectional associations between the 2 as well as prospective predictions of coparenting by relationship quality and vice versa. However, less is known about the longitudinal reciprocity between the couple relationship and coparenting from the perspective of both parents. The current study sought to examine longitudinal associations between relationship quality and coparenting support/undermining across the transition to parenthood from a dyadic perspective. Participants were 164 cohabiting heterosexual couples expecting their 1st child, assessed during pregnancy and at 6 and 36 months after birth. Actor partner interdependence modeling was used to examine, for both men and women, (a) stability over time in relationship quality and coparenting, (b) reciprocal associations between relationship quality and coparenting support/undermining, and (c) the gender differences in those associations. Moderate rank-order stability in relationship quality and coparenting support/undermining across the 1st 3 years of parenthood was demonstrated. For women, but not men, findings suggested longitudinal reciprocal associations between relationship quality and coparenting support/undermining. Specifically, our findings suggested that prenatal relationship quality sets the stage for coparenting functioning after birth for both men and women but that coparenting functioning is then connected to subsequent feelings about the romantic relationship for only women. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


Parental insightfulness is associated with cooperative interactions in families with toddlers.Open in a New Window

A growing body of research has highlighted the importance of mother–father–child interactions in families with toddlers, but little is known about the internal processes underlying parenting in such interactions. Dyadic studies of parent–child relationships have focused on parental insightfulness as promoting sensitive parent–child interactions, and the goal of the present study was to examine whether insightfulness would similarly be associated with cooperative triadic interactions. To address this question, we observed 77 mother–father–toddler triads in the Lausanne Trilogue Play (LTP) procedure to assess family cooperation, and the insightfulness of each parent was assessed using the Insightfulness Assessment, a video replay procedure in which parents are interviewed regarding their children’s thoughts and feelings after watching short video clips of the children. The results showed that families in which both parents were insightful had higher Family Cooperation and Coparenting scores compared to families in which only 1 parent was insightful and families in which neither parent was insightful. The implications of these findings for research on the internal processes underlying parenting in a triadic context are discussed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


Parenting self-efficacy moderates linkage between partner relationship dissatisfaction and avoidant infant–mother attachment: A Dutch study.Open in a New Window

The early infant–mother attachment relationship is part of a network of close relationships in which the relationship between parents is especially relevant. Evidence for linkages between maternal satisfaction with the partner relationship and infant–mother attachment is equivocal. The current study tested whether associations between partner relationship dissatisfaction and infant–mother attachment quality might be conditional on mothers’ parenting self-efficacy. The bivariate effect of partner relationship dissatisfaction on infant–mother attachment as well as moderation of this effect by parenting self-efficacy was tested in a sample of 260 infant–mother dyads 1 year after birth. There was no direct effect of partner dissatisfaction on attachment. Unexpectedly, for high parenting self-efficacy, greater partner dissatisfaction increased the odds of an avoidant infant attachment (compared with a disorganized) whereas, for low parenting self-efficacy, greater partner dissatisfaction decreased the odds of an avoidant infant attachment (compared with secure and disorganized). Findings underline the importance of parenting cognitions for understanding contextual factors of infant–mother attachment quality. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


Randomized trial of parent training to prevent adolescent problem behaviors during the high school transition.Open in a New Window

This randomized controlled trial tested a widely used general parent training program, Common Sense Parenting (CSP), with low-income 8th graders and their families to support a positive transition to high school. The program was tested in its original 6-session format and in a modified format (CSP-Plus), which added 2 sessions that included adolescents. Over 2 annual cohorts, 321 families were enrolled and randomly assigned to either the CSP, CSP-Plus, or minimal-contact control condition. Pretest, posttest, 1-year follow-up, and 2-year follow-up survey data on parenting as well as youth school bonding, social skills, and problem behaviors were collected from parents and youth (94% retention). Extending prior examinations of posttest outcomes, intent-to-treat regression analyses tested for intervention effects at the 2 follow-up assessments, and growth curve analyses examined experimental condition differences in yearly change across time. Separate exploratory tests of moderation by youth gender, youth conduct problems, and family economic hardship also were conducted. Out of 52 regression models predicting 1- and 2-year follow-up outcomes, only 2 out of 104 possible intervention effects were statistically significant. No statistically significant intervention effects were found in the growth curve analyses. Tests of moderation also showed few statistically significant effects. Because CSP already is in widespread use, findings have direct implications for practice. Specifically, findings suggest that the program may not be efficacious with parents of adolescents in a selective prevention context and may reveal the limits of brief, general parent training for achieving outcomes with parents of adolescents. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


Mexican-origin parents’ differential treatment and siblings’ adjustment from adolescence to young adulthood.Open in a New Window

Parents’ differential treatment is a common family dynamic that has been linked to youth’s well-being in childhood and adolescence in European American families. Much less is known, however, about this family process in other ethnic groups. The authors examined the longitudinal associations between parents’ differential treatment (PDT) and both depressive symptoms and risky behaviors of Mexican-origin sibling pairs from early adolescence through young adulthood. They also tested the moderating roles of cultural orientations as well as youth age, gender and sibling dyad gender constellation in these associations. Participants were mothers, fathers, and 2 siblings from 246 Mexican-origin families who participated in individual home interviews on 3 occasions over 8 years. Multilevel models revealed that, controlling for dyadic parent–child relationship qualities (i.e., absolute levels of warmth and conflict), adolescents who had less favorable treatment by mothers relative to their sibling reported more depressive symptoms and risky behavior, on average. Findings for fathers’ PDT emerged at the within-person level indicating that, on occasions when adolescents experienced less favorable treatment by fathers than usual, they reported more depressive symptoms and risky behavior. However, some of these effects were moderated by youth age and cultural socialization. For example, adolescents who experienced relatively less paternal warmth than their siblings also reported poorer adjustment, but this effect did not emerge for young adults; such an effect also was significant for unfavored youth with stronger but not weaker cultural orientations. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


Latino parent acculturation stress: Longitudinal effects on family functioning and youth emotional and behavioral health.Open in a New Window

Latino parents can experience acculturation stressors, and according to the Family Stress Model (FSM), parent stress can influence youth mental health and substance use by negatively affecting family functioning. To understand how acculturation stressors come together and unfold over time to influence youth mental health and substance use outcomes, the current study investigated the trajectory of a latent parent acculturation stress factor and its influence on youth mental health and substance use via parent-and youth-reported family functioning. Data came from a 6-wave, school-based survey with 302 recent (<5 years) immigrant Latino parents (74% mothers, Mage = 41.09 years) and their adolescents (47% female, Mage = 14.51 years). Parents’ reports of discrimination, negative context of reception, and acculturative stress loaded onto a latent factor of acculturation stress at each of the first 4 time points. Earlier levels of and increases in parent acculturation stress predicted worse youth-reported family functioning. Additionally, earlier levels of parent acculturation stress predicted worse parent-reported family functioning and increases in parent acculturation stress predicted better parent-reported family functioning. While youth-reported positive family functioning predicted higher self-esteem, lower symptoms of depression, and lower aggressive and rule-breaking behavior in youth, parent-reported family positive functioning predicted lower youth alcohol and cigarette use. Findings highlight the need for Latino youth preventive interventions to target parent acculturation stress and family functioning. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


The complex contribution of sociodemographics to decision-making power in gay male couples.Open in a New Window

Relationship power is an important dyadic construct in close relationships that is associated with relationship health and partner’s individual health. Understanding what predicts power in heterosexual couples has proven difficult, and even less is known about gay couples. Resource models of power posit that demographic characteristics associated with social status (e.g., age, income) confer power within the relationship, which in turn shapes relationship outcomes. We tested this model in a sample of gay male couples (N = 566 couples) and extended it by examining race and HIV status. Multilevel modeling was used to test associations between demographic bases of power and decision-making power. We also examined relative associations among demographic bases and decision-making power with relationship satisfaction given the literature on power imbalances and overall relationship functioning. Results showed that individual income was positively associated with decision-making power, as was participant’s HIV status, with HIV-positive men reporting greater power. Age differences within the relationship interacted with relationship length to predict decision-making power, but not satisfaction. HIV-concordant positive couples were less satisfied than concordant negative couples. Higher power partners were less satisfied than lower power partners. Demographic factors contributing to decision-making power among same-sex male couples appear to share some similarities with heterosexual couples (e.g., income is associated with power) and have unique features (e.g., HIV status influences power). However, these same demographics did not reliably predict relationship satisfaction in the manner that existing power theories suggest. Findings indicate important considerations for theories of power among same-sex male couples. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


Social support and coparenting among lesbian, gay, and heterosexual adoptive parents.Open in a New Window

In this study, we examined associations between qualities of families’ social contexts and experiences of coparenting. In a sample of 92 adoptive families, we assessed perceived social support among 23 lesbian, 28 gay, and 41 heterosexual adoptive parent families and its association with parents’ perceptions of their coparenting alliances. Results showed that parents in same- and other-sex couples reported receiving similar amounts of social support from family, friends, and significant others. Perceived social support was positively associated with stronger coparenting alliance among all family types. Perceived support from family members explained more variance in parenting alliance than did support from friends or significant others. These findings add to knowledge about fundamental family processes and enhance understanding of parenthood among lesbian and gay adoptive couples. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


Enhancing relationship quality measurement: The development of the Relationship Flourishing Scale.Open in a New Window

Relationship quality is the most frequently assessed construct in the intimate relationships literature. Dozens of assessment instruments exist, but the vast majority conceptualize relationship quality in terms of satisfaction (or a similar construct), which focuses on the hedonic (pleasure or happiness) dimension of the relationship. Some scholars question whether the richness and depth of adult intimate relationships can be captured by satisfaction ratings and suggest focusing on a complementary eudaimonic (human flourishing) dimension of the relationship. This study evaluates the development of the Relationship Flourishing Scale, a 12-item measure of eudaimonic relationship quality that assesses meaning, personal growth, relational giving, and goal sharing. The study supports the construct validity of the Relationship Flourishing Scale, including its content, concurrent, convergent, discriminant, and incremental validity. Its incremental validity and independence suggest that it provides information about deeper and richer aspects of relationship quality than do current hedonic relationship quality measures. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)


Family rituals, financial burden, and mothers’ adjustment in pediatric cancer.Open in a New Window

The financial burden of childhood cancer may contribute to the distress that parents experience during and after treatment. Inconsistent relationships between financial burden and parental psychological distress highlight the need to identify psychosocial factors that may moderate this relationship. In this study, we aimed to determine if family ritual meaning moderates the relationship between financial burden and anxiety and depression symptoms among mothers of children with cancer. Portuguese mothers of children with cancer on-treatment and off-treatment (N = 244) completed measures of financial burden, anxiety and depression symptoms, and family ritual meaning. Moderating effects were tested using hierarchical multiple regression analyses. Family ritual meaning buffered the effect of financial burden on anxiety, but not on depression symptoms. The relationship between financial burden and anxiety symptoms was not significant when mothers endorsed higher levels of family ritual meaning. Although preliminary, the current findings suggest that high levels of perceived family ritual meaning may constitute a protective factor against the effect of financial burden on mothers’ anxiety symptoms. Promoting family ritual meaning might be an effective approach to reducing anxiety symptoms of mothers of children with cancer in the context of financial burden. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)
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