Relations among maternal socialization, effortful control, and maladjustment in early childhood

Nancy Eisenberg, Tracy L. Spinrad, Natalie D. Eggum, Kassondra M. Silva, Mark Reiser, Claire Hofer, Cynthia L. Smith, Bridget M. Gaertner, Anne Kupfer, Tierney Popp, Nicole Michalik

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51 Scopus citations


In a sample of 18-, 30-, and 42-month-olds, the relations among parenting, effortful control (EC), and maladjustment were examined. Parenting was assessed with mothers' reports and observations; EC was measured with mothers' and caregivers' reports, as well as a behavioral task; and externalizing and internalizing symptoms were assessed with parents' and caregivers' reports. Although 18-month unsupportive (vs. supportive) parenting negatively predicted EC at 30 months, when the stability of these variables was taken into account, there was no evidence of additional potentially causal relations between these two constructs. Although EC was negatively related to both internalizing and externalizing problems within all three ages as well as across 1 year, EC did not predict maladjustment once the stability of the constructs and within time covariation between the constructs were taken into account. In addition, externalizing problems at 30 months negatively predicted EC at 42 months, and internalizing problems at 30 months positively predicted EC at 42 months, but only when the effects of externalizing on EC were controlled. The findings are discussed in terms of the reasons for the lack of causal relations over time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-525
Number of pages19
JournalDevelopment and Psychopathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2010
Externally publishedYes


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