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Trajectories of Observed Maternal and Paternal Sensitivity in Early and Middle Childhood: Predicting Children's Social Competence from Sensitive Parenting

Matestic, Patricia A. (2009) Trajectories of Observed Maternal and Paternal Sensitivity in Early and Middle Childhood: Predicting Children's Social Competence from Sensitive Parenting. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The present longitudinal study of parental sensitivity had three primary goals: 1) to delineate the developmental trajectories of paternal and maternal sensitivity across early and middle childhood using data from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Childcare (N = 513); 2) to identify demographic and family context variables that differentiate among trajectories; 3) to examine the degree to which trajectories of maternal and paternal sensitivity predicted children's social competence in middle school, over and above demographic and family correlates. A group based trajectory analysis of parental sensitivity obtained from separate observations of father-child and mother-child interaction across a seven year study period revealed four distinct, yet similar, trajectories of fathers' and mothers' sensitivity. These included groups defined by high-stable, moderate-stable, moderate-decreasing, and low-increasing levels of sensitivity. The majority of fathers and mothers in this sample exhibited high to moderately stable levels of sensitivity with their children during early and middle childhood. Parents in these trajectories were characterized by higher overall SES, and they reported using less harsh parenting practices as compared to parents in trajectory groups characterized by either low or moderate levels of sensitivity that increased or decreased over time. Also, mothers showing moderate decreasing sensitivity reported significantly more depressive symptoms. No additional family context variables predicted to either paternal or maternal sensitivity over time. Finally, trajectories of both paternal sensitivity and maternal sensitivity predicted different aspects of children's social competence in sixth grade after significant covariates, previous child functioning, and the opposite parent's sensitivity were taken into account.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Matestic, Patricia
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairCampbell, Susan Bsbcamp@pitt.eduSBCAMP
Committee MemberShaw, Daniel Scasey@pitt.eduCASEY
Committee MemberCheong, JeeWonjcheong@pitt.eduJCHEONG
Committee MemberVondra, Joan Ivondra@pitt.eduVONDRA
Committee MemberJennings, Kay
Date: 9 February 2009
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 22 August 2008
Approval Date: 9 February 2009
Submission Date: 11 December 2008
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: parenting; fathers; social competence
Other ID:, etd-12112008-154940
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:10
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:54


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