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Behavioral Inhibition and Effortful Control: Independent and Interactive Predictors of Child Externalizing Behavior

Reuben, Julia (2014) Behavioral Inhibition and Effortful Control: Independent and Interactive Predictors of Child Externalizing Behavior. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Externalizing symptoms, such as aggression, impulsivity and inattention, represent the most common forms of childhood maladjustment (Campbell et al., 2000). Mounting evidence and theory strongly suggest that temperament plays an important role in vulnerability to early externalizing symptoms (Muris & Ollendick, 2005). Two dimensions of temperament, behavioral inhibition (BI, Lengua, 2008) and effortful control (EC, Olson et al., 2005) have consistently emerged as predictors of early externalizing problems. However, there have been relatively few attempts to simultaneously examine the main, independent, and interactive contributions of multiple dimensions of temperament on early developing externalizing problems. (Eisenberg et al., 1997). In addition to temperament, several dimensions of parenting during early childhood have been linked to young children’s externalizing problems, both independently and in interaction with child attributes, such as BI and EC (Kiff, Lengua, & Zalewski, 2011). Thus, an additional goal of the current study was to test whether low levels of child BI and EC might amplify the positive association between harsh parenting and children’s later externalizing problems, and whether low levels of child BI and EC might attenuate the negative association between warm parenting and children’s later externalizing problems. Finally, the genetically-informed design of the Early Growth and Development Study also permits exploration of the intergenerational genetic continuity of EC and BI, both of which have shown moderate levels of heritability in prior research (Lemery-Chalfant et al., 2008). The results revealed that higher levels of harsh parenting were linked to higher levels of externalizing problems . In addition, higher levels of warm parenting were linked with lower levels of externalizing problems and on occasion, interactions between EC and BI and warm parenting were found in the development of toddler externalizing problems. Importantly, the current investigation provides support for the notion that parenting behavior assessed in the toddler period, when effects due to genes shared among biologically-related family members are removed, is associated with children’s subsequent externalizing problem behavior at 54 months.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairShaw, Daniel S.casey@pitt.eduCASEY
Committee MemberCampbell , Susan sbcamp@pitt.eduSBCAMP
Committee MemberMonahan, Kathrynmonahan@pitt.eduMONAHAN
Committee MemberLeve,
Date: 22 May 2014
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 4 September 2013
Approval Date: 22 May 2014
Submission Date: 15 April 2014
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 74
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: effortful control, behavioral inhibition, externalizing problems, adoption study
Date Deposited: 22 May 2014 20:08
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:19


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