College of Psychology: Faculty Articles

Title

Roles of family cohesiveness, marital adjustment, and child temperament in predicting child behavior with mothers and fathers

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2014

Publication Title

Journal of Social and Personal Relationships

ISSN

0265-4075

Volume

31

Abstract

The current study explored how family characteristics (i.e., family cohesiveness and marital adjustment) and child characteristics (i.e., temperament) assessed when the child was 13 months old predicted child behavior with mothers and fathers at 36 months. Mother–father–child interaction was observed to assess family cohesiveness at 13 months. Mothers and fathers also completed questionnaires assessing their perceptions of marital adjustment and their child’s temperament at 13 months. Based on dyadic parent–child interactions at 36 months, under-controlled behavior and positive engagement were examined as outcome variables. Results indicated that observed family cohesiveness predicted positive engagement with both parents. Moreover, in families with high cohesiveness at 13 months, child behavior was significantly consistent across mother–child and father–child interactions, whereas in families with low cohesiveness, consistency of child behavior was not observed. Results also revealed that fathers’ perceptions of marital adjustment directly predicted child behavior with fathers, while the combination of low family cohesiveness/low marital adjustment and difficult temperament predicted child behavior with mothers.

DOI

10.1177/0265407513490586

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Peer Reviewed

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