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Developmental Review 22 (2002) 623–643 www.academicpress.


Does child temperament moderate the influence of parenting on adjustment?q
Kathleen Cranley Gallagher
Department of Educational Psychology, University of Wisconsin–Madison, Education Sciences Building, 1025 West Johnson Street, Madison, WI 53706, USA Received 26 March 2001; received in revised form 3 January 2002

Abstract Parental socialization and child temperament are modestly associated with child adjustment outcomes. Main-effects models have yielded valuable information, but fail to explicate mechanisms via which child adjustment occurs. A conditional model of influence is suggested, in which parenting effects on child adjustment are moderated by child temperament characteristics. Theoretical support for such a model is outlined, integrating bioecological systems theory (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 1998) and a corollary differential susceptibility hypothesis (Belsky, 1997). Empirical work compatible with the moderated model is reviewed, and research that more fully integrates the theoretical model and allows direct testing of the propositions is presented. Ó 2002 Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.
Keywords: Parenting; Temperament; Child adjustment; Moderator; Ecological systems theory; Differential susceptibility

Research linking parenting and child temperament to adjustment has relied primarily upon main-effects models, in which socialization (parenting) or biological predisposition (temperament) directly predicts child adjustment
q An earlier version of this paper was presented as part of preliminary examination requirements for completion of studies in the Ph.D. program in Human Development. I am most grateful to Deborah Lowe Vandell, Leonard Abbeduto, and B. Bradford Brown for their generous comments and assistance. E-mail address:

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K.C. Gallagher / Developmental Review 22 (2002) 623–643

outcomes. It has been suggested that research emphasizing the interaction effects of parenting and child temperament might more precisely consider the complexity of development and its processes (Hinde, 1989; Kochanska, 1997; Lerner, 1998; Magnusson & Stattin, 1998; Thomas, 1984). A conditional model, in which the relationship between a predictor and dependent variable is moderated by the presence of a third variable, may be used to examine parenting influences on child adjustment as moderated by child temperament. In this review, I summarize the work linking parenting and temperament to adjustment in main-effects models. A theoretical framework and ancillary hypothesis are then examined. Bioecological systems theory (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 1998) proposes how specific qualities of parenting have their most conspicuous effects on adjustment in the presence of distinct child temperament characteristics over time. A differential susceptibility hypothesis (Belsky, 1997) is proposed as a means for interpreting temperamental instability. A survey of the empirical literature investigating the interaction of parenting and child temperament will follow. I conclude by suggesting strategies for future study of parenting–temperament interaction, informed by bioecological systems theory.

Main-effects models Adjustment in childhood Adjustment in childhood refers to the characteristics of the childÕs social functioning within constraints of the environment (Rothbart & Bates, 1998). Positive adjustment is reflected in general positive emotion, compliant and self-regulated behavior, and harmonious interpersonal interactions (Bronfenbrenner & Morris, 1998). Negative adjustment outcomes are reflected in the converse: negative emotion, disruptive behavior and conflicted social relationships. What manifests as adjustment in childhood varies with developmental period and with the environmental and social demands placed upon the child (Sanson & Rothbart, 1995). Parenting and child adjustment Parenting is thought to influence adjustment via processes commonly known as socialization, ‘‘. . .whereby children acquire the habits, values, goals, and knowledge that will enable them to function satisfactorily when they become adult members of society’’ (Maccoby, 1980b, p. v). The research linking parenting and child adjustment has generated the study of two primary dimensions of parenting. Parental warmth incorporates behaviors that convey acceptance, positive affect, sensitivity and responsiveness

Maltreatment aside. predictions of child adjustment outcomes from parenting behaviors have been modest (Chamberlain & Patterson. discipline and monitoring (Baumrind. 1981). including the effects of intrusiveness and harsh discipline (Patterson. While operational definitions of parental warmth and control vary across studies.K. & Bornstein. Maccoby.C. For example. 1998. 1995). manifest in enforcing demands and rules. manifested in child abuse and neglect. & Wall. is also related to maladjustment in childhood and adulthood (Egeland & Sroufe. 1998). Parental control consists of sufficient and developmentally appropriate involvement. and restriction of the childÕs behavior. defined as ‘‘constitutionally based individual differences in emotional. Profoundly negative parenting. 1995. 1978). temperamental extremes may reflect either positive adjustment on one end of the continuum. & Dishion. 1991). High maternal warmth and nonintrusive responding are related to secure attachment in infancy (Ainsworth. links between parenting styles and child adjustment outcomes have sometimes been equivocal. 1984). these same parenting characteristics predict fewer behavior problems and more harmonious peer relationships (Baumrind. Chess and Thomas (1989) defined clusters of temperament characteristics they hypothesized were most clinically salient for adjustment. while very low attention may manifest as attention deficit disorder. Blehar. 1980b). Collins. and better peer relations (Baumrind. 1979. Children with an ‘‘easy’’ temperament typically exhibited moderate to high positive emotion. In later childhood and adolescence. moderate activity level. 1980a. In a direct linkage model. Steinberg. For example. Gallagher / Developmental Review 22 (2002) 623–643 625 toward the child. 1985). In early studies of child temperament. arbitrarily administered. Wachs. or pathology on the other (Rothbart & Bates. 2000. parental high warmth and responsiveness have been associated with superior child prosocial skills (Sroufe. 1980a). however. high . extreme fearfulness may manifest as anxiety disorder. fewer behavior problems. 1979). high parental power. is modestly related to concurrent and later child adjustment. Reid. and attentional reactivity and self-regulation’’ (Rothbart & Bates. Vandell. Modest relations and equivocal findings have led to reflection on what alternative influences might be playing a role in the childÕs developing social competence (Rothbart & Bates. Additionally. Child temperament and adjustment Child temperament. Hetherington. general findings associating parenting with child adjustment can be summarized as follows. Negative aspects of parental control have also been considered. Sanson & Rothbart. passive behavior in some children and aggressive cruel behavior in others (Maccoby. was associated with divergent child outcomes: obedient. motor. Maccoby. Maccoby. 1998). In early childhood. 1991). high expectations. Waters. 2000.

the contemporary structure is supported by biological. Martin. 1991). Children with ‘‘difficult’’ temperament typically exhibited high negative emotion. Evidence that parenting influences children (Belsky. and limited theoretical support have rendered main-effects-models of parenting or temperament influence obsolete. modest relations among variables. 1968). 1994). and internalizing problems (Bates. Irritability and distress to limitations is associated with later aggressive behavior (Bates et al. Inhibition. high activity level. Contemporary research in the area of temperament postulates a model that considers three global dimensions: surgency. Thomas and Chess hypothesized that temperament conveyed its influence in interaction with the demands of the environment. & Frankel. 1984). expectations and opportunities of the environment’’ (Chess . 1989. characteristics associated with ‘‘difficult’’ temperament are modestly related to later behavior problems (Bates. or fearful withdrawal. 1989. Gallagher / Developmental Review 22 (2002) 623–643 adaptability and high emotional regulation. A conditional model. 1998).626 K. is associated with later social inhibition or shyness (Kagan. inconsistent findings. 1998). Regardless of the model employed. Fish. behavioral genetic and social science research (Rothbart & Bates. High negative emotion in infancy is associated with later internalizing and externalizing behaviors. Thomas. Maslin. more than children with ‘‘easy’’ or average temperament (Thomas. and low emotional regulation. 1985). 1994. However. persuades us to consider an alternative model that reflects this underlying bidirectionality and reciprocity. including parenting. caregivers. Children with the difficult characteristics were found to challenge parents. 1984. negative emotion. Surgency involves activity level and the tendency to approach or withdraw from novel situations. While similar to the original dimensions of Thomas and Chess. Wachs & Plomin. distress to limitation and soothability. A conditional model There has been little theoretical delineation of the synergistic processes of parenting and temperament. Regulation includes systems of attention and behavioral inhibition. 1991) and that children affect parents (Bell. Chess & Thomas. low adaptability. and regulation (Rothbart & Bates.. 1985). is one such model. focusing on interactive effects of parenting and temperament. & Isabella. goodness of fit results when the childÕs capacities. though interactions are often assumed to reflect the bi-directional and reciprocal interchanges between the organism and environment over time (Hershberger. 1989). and negative emotion refers to sadness. Magnusson & Stattin.C. motivations and temperament are adequate to master the demands. Positive adjustment was seen as a product of ‘‘goodness-of-fit’’ between the childÕs temperament and the environment: ‘‘Simply defined. and teachers. 1998.

C. longitudinal. 1983). in which the interaction component examines either differential vulnerability. or organism. However. as outlined by bioecological systems theory (Bronfenbrenner & Morris. This model is referred to as the Process–Person–Context–Time model (PPCT). or the nonlinear association between two variables. A conditional model aims to uncover and meaningfully interpret interactions. Where child temperament moderates the effects of parenting. 1995). 1989. 1998). parenting is more than a feature of the environment. a childÕs temperament characteristics increase or decrease the strength of the relationship between parenting (the independent variable) and child adjustment (the dependent variable). 1968). might differentially influence development. moderated by child temperament characteristics. 380). qualities of parenting may predict different outcomes for children with different temperament characteristics (Sanson & Rothbart. a theoretical basis for understanding how particular processes. interaction tests the prediction of child adjustment from parenting characteristics.K. joint effects of parenting and temperament are not simply instances of organism–environment interaction. Bronfenbrenner and Morris (1998) advance a bioecological model. 1984) have forced goodness-of-fit approaches to remain under-utilized. Gallagher / Developmental Review 22 (2002) 623–643 627 & Thomas. including systems. in combination with child characteristics. Bronfenbrenner & Crouter. Children elicit parenting behavior. posing hypotheses for child outcomes of dysfunction and competence. the interaction of parenting and child temperament is a synergism of process (parenting) and person (temperament). Bronfenbrenner and Morris (1998) elaborate on how conditional effects might be explored. and sets forth implications for how research might consider the interaction of parenting and temperament. p. 1979. 1991) suggests that individuals may respond differently to the environment according to qualities of their own reactivity. the child is an active participant in the parenting process. the environment influences different people differently. Therefore. . or differences in response patterns to the environment. Parenting is bi-directional and reciprocal by design. Wachs outlined the need for a theoretically based study of organism–environment interactions. utilization of environmental opportunities. Specifically. In the proposed conditional model. Unfortunately. Baron and KennyÕs (1986) influential work on moderator and mediator variables sets forth considerations for exploring the role of third or intervening variables. and interaction components. The bioecological systems model Expanding on the ecological systems model (Bronfenbrenner. The hypothesis of organismic specificity (Wachs. While temperament can be considered a characteristic of the person. and respond in ways that shape parenting (Bell. theoretical and methodological limitations (see Plomin & Daniels. In other words.

listening to storybooks. 1998. reducing the quality and time spent in parent–child proximal processes. Gallagher / Developmental Review 22 (2002) 623–643 Parenting proximal processes The core of the bioecological model is proximal processes (Bronfenbrenner & Morris. and shyness can encourage or impede development in the context of proximal processes. Competent and increasingly complex participation in these proximal processes is necessary for optimal developmental outcomes. The childÕs activity level. 1998. constantly influenced by the Person characteristics of the child. and elements of Time (duration and historical setting). objects or symbols on a regular basis. The influence of proximal processes on developmental outcomes is expected to vary with characteristics of the Person (child or other). may hinder a childÕs participation with the parent in playgroup activities. Infants high in irritability or activity level. temperament can act as force or demand characteristics. 996).g. Responsive parenting may reduce the likelihood of social withdrawal in school in the case of an inhibited child. demand characteristics. 1998). The quality of proximal processes is theorized to influence child development outcomes more than any single measure of Person. 1009). Context. Parenting is a proximal process in which parental influence on child adjustment varies as a function of the childÕs characteristics. The parentÕs efforts involve encouraging manners. Force characteristics are the childÕs ‘‘active behavioral dispositions’’ (Bronfenbrenner & Morris. Force characteristics such as impulsiveness. and somehow avoiding catastrophic messes. p.628 K. activities in which the child interacts with persons.. but not in the case of an uninhibited child. An example of parenting as a proximal process is found in the socialization of a young childÕs mealtime behaviors. Harsh parenting may be associated with increased child aggression in general. or Time alone. ‘‘Proximal processes are posited as the primary engines of development’’ (Bronfenbrenner & Morris.C. angriness. having the child be healthily nourished. Demand characteristics evoke or hinder social reactions and behaviors from others involved in proximal processes. Fearfulness. The process is the parent-led reciprocal interchange of the meal activity. fearfulness regarding novelty (new food). a force characteristic. and visiting relatives. characteristics of the Context (the broader environment). such as participating in mealtime. high chair. According to Bronfenbrenner and Morris (1998). such as temperament. may . p. and emotions regarding restrictions (e. but with even more aggression in the case of children who express more negative emotion. The degree to which a temperament characteristic impedes or facilitates productive engagement in proximal processes indicates its positive or negative value for the childÕs development. Temperament person characteristics Person characteristics that moderate the influence of proximal processes include force and demand characteristics. bib) influence the parentÕs efforts.

and high activity level render a child less able to engage in increasingly complex proximal processes. 1. Proximal Processes become more elaborate over time. The child contributes to the process through these Person characteristics. A longitudinal component. Gallagher / Developmental Review 22 (2002) 623–643 629 evoke more negative emotional expression from parents in the case of the former. help to account for the complexity of the environmental influences in a childÕs life (see Bronfenbrenner. . An interactive Fig. Expected child adjustment outcomes as predicted by the interaction of child temperament and parenting. and make negative adjustment outcomes more likely. moderating the association of parenting and child outcomes. 1983). Are there situations in which typically negative processes or negative temperament are associated with positive outcomes? Might it be adaptive for parents to be less sensitive to childrenÕs need for autonomy in dangerous contexts.K. 1). Distressful emotion. such as urban settings or political conflict? Do certain temperament characteristics interact with aspects of parenting more than others? The bioecological theory of development is consistent with Wachs and PlominÕs (1991) requirements for a theoretical model of organism–environment interaction. mesosystems)..e. inherent in BronfenbrennerÕs concept of Time. considers developmental progress within and over periods of time. outlined in detail in earlier works by Bronfenbrenner (i. or more parental restriction in the latter case. Questions this model can begin to address are plentiful. microsystems.C. inhibitory fearfulness. Parenting and child temperament interact such that the total effect is greater than the addition of their separate contributions (see Fig. A conditional model of influence Bronfenbrenner and Morris theorize that Proximal Processes and Person characteristics synergistically predict developmental outcomes. 1979. Bronfenbrenner & Crouter. The systems components.

The differential susceptibility hypothesis complements bioecological theory in its consideration of conditional effects (Belsky. if at all. that the offspring of individuals vary in the degree to which they exhibit certain characteristics. within the organism. children who are less reactive and negative may be more prone to resist parental socialization. . some offspring are expected to be affected by socialization experiences—in positive and/or negative ways. variation among individualsÕ behavioral characteristics occurs to enhance individual reproductive fitness. 2001). infants might be more susceptible to parentsÕ socialization pressures than their less reactive peers. This is particularly valuable within families. Variation in individual characteristics increases the likelihood that the most adaptive characteristics advance into the next generation. . Belsky (1997) suggests that what plausibly follows is variation among individuals in the characteristic of ‘‘susceptibility to environmental influence’’ (p. and may develop social competence with or without parental facilitation. respectively. child temperament and child adjustment is a hypothesis of differential susceptibility (Belsky. with consistently maladaptive characteristics extinguishing over time. 38). or as Belsky (2001) depicts it. including parenting. 1997). a reproductive ‘‘hedging of bets’’ (p. . Since the future remains uncertain. contends Belsky. 184). ‘‘. individualsÕ traits may vary in their susceptibility to socialization influences. which incorporates evolutionary considerations into study of the Process–Person–Context framework of ecological systems theory. in which parentsÕ best interest for promoting their genes into this uncertain future is having offspring who vary in their characteristics. Whether this susceptibility to influences is specific to characteristics or global. According to the evolutionary perspective. or negative.630 K.C. An ancillary hypothesis An additional perspective for examining the associations among parenting. it makes sense. particularly in relation to outcomes of behavioral adjustment and regulation. and with it the human characteristics that may adapt best to future contexts. Mounting evidence suggests that infants high in negative reactivity may be more susceptible to variations in parenting than their non-reactive peers (see Fig. Over 20 years ago. 7).the principal main effects are likely to be interactions’’ (p. remains uninvestigated. 2). Bronfenbrenner (1979) stated. Conversely. depending on the nature of their experiences—whereas others are expected to be affected to a far less degree. Just as there is variation among characteristics such as athletic ability. ParentsÕ efforts to encourage or discourage this reactivity may be associated with child outcomes of social inhibition or social facility. Gallagher / Developmental Review 22 (2002) 623–643 component is also included. highly reactive. or body type. As an example of how this might manifest. Thus. 1997.

possibly due to difficulty in obtaining and interpreting significant interaction terms (Sanson & Rothbart.C. with child adjustment manifested differently at each developmental stage: attachment security in infancy. Suess. child . 1997. In a short-term longitudinal study of 48 infants and their mothers. but only when those infants were irritable as newborns. Mothers who reported low levels of social support were more likely to have infants who were insecurely attached. Adjustment in infancy: Attachment security Findings linking attachment to later positive adjustment indicate that a secure attachment relationship between caregiver and child is a hallmark of positive adjustment in infancy (Rutter. Gallagher / Developmental Review 22 (2002) 623–643 631 Fig. Grossman. Crockenberg (1981) found that newborn irritability interacted with motherÕs social support.K. Expected differential susceptibility of negative temperament to the influence of parenting on child adjustment outcomes. 1995). 2. & Sroufe. CrockenbergÕs instrumental study paved the way for how we might think about the complexity of parenting characteristics. prosocial and antisocial skills in early childhood. The literature reviewed spans the developmental periods of childhood. Empirical work employing a conditional model There is a small body of literature exploring the interactive effects of parenting and child temperament as related to adjustment. predicting attachment security in the Strange Situation at one year. and aggression and depression in middle and late childhood. 1992).

With a sample of 90 toddlers and their mothers.632 K. and preschool. however. 824) interacted with temperament to predict attachment. Gallagher / Developmental Review 22 (2002) 623–643 temperament and adjustment in infancy. Particularly remarkable is the influential nature of negative temperament on the association between parenting processes and child adjustment. Attachment security in the Strange Situation was assessed when the infants were thirteen months old. In both of these studies. The researchers observed 66 nine-month old infants and their mothers at home. For children 2–5 years old. Prosocial behavior is reflected in positive behaviors that advance relationships. a personality type reflecting ‘‘rigidity. parenting and attachment security. supporting the differential susceptibility hypothesis. Robust measurement of parenting in infancy may be difficult. such as responsiveness and discipline. 1998). Gunnar. Kochanska (1997) explored how parental socialization behaviors. Neither child temperament nor maternal behavior predicted later emotional expressiveness or attachment security. Irritable infants were more susceptible to parenting influences than non-irritable infants. acceptance. features of parenting interacted with temperament. interacted with child fearfulness to predict childrenÕs conscience-related behaviors. However. Low maternal constraint predicted secure attachment for infants prone to distress. including a ‘‘risky events’’ activity. and empathy. Kestenbaum. opportunities for social interaction outside of the home increase in the contexts of playgroup. predicting child adjustment outcomes. Lang. child fearfulness was measured using parent report and a laboratory observation. Adjustment in early childhood: Prosocial and antisocial behavior Research with preschoolers has more wholly documented parenting– temperament interaction. as the proximal processes of mother–infant interaction may be insufficiently established (Kochanska. Prosocial behavior KochanskaÕs model (1995. parenting proximal processes did not interact with temperament. and cooperation) and . 1997) tests the joint influences of parental socialization and child temperamental inhibition in relation to childrenÕs moral development. however.C. Social inhibition reflects the converse: failure to engage relationships with others. and Andreas (1990) explored similar issues in a multi-measure study of temperament. and in the extreme. whereas maternal constraint. traditionalism and low risk-taking’’ (p. Mangelsdorf. maternal constraint. assessing infant temperament and maternal personality. sharing. neighborhood. social withdrawal (Rutter. 1997). whether high or low. was unrelated to attachment security for infants not prone to distress. such as helpfulness. Maternal responsiveness (sensitivity.

or shyness. mothers and fathers were rated on positive affect. Low-power parental discipline was related to higher sharing in the nursery school. These two studies provide evidence that ‘‘gentle’’ or ‘‘low power’’ discipline is associated with both internalized (conscience) and externalized (sharing) prosocial behavior. and 33 months old. Stewart. Stanhope posited that low power parenting helped fearful children to develop prosocial behavior with peers.and 5-years old in the laboratory. Parenting processes exerted influence on childrenÕs development in interaction with temperament characteristics of the Person (child). Maternal gentle discipline predicted higher conscience scores only for children high in fearfulness. Stanhope (1999) also investigated interaction of child temperament and parent discipline in relation to prosocial behavior. in that highly inhibited children were more likely to be affected by variation in parental discipline.C. capitalization on their fearfulness. 21. Park. but only for children rated low in fearfulness. Like Kochanska. Thus. With a sample of 56 preschoolers and their parents (49 mothers and 8 fathers). Social inhibition. Gallagher / Developmental Review 22 (2002) 623–643 633 gentle discipline (reasoning and low-power guidance) were observed in a separate series of mother–child laboratory activities: a cooperative play ‘‘kitchen scene. For fearless children. for children who demonstrate high negative emotion or fearfulness.’’ a toy clean-up and a prohibited toy situation. temperament characteristics were differentially susceptible to parental influences. Additionally. and Crnic (1997) observed the emotional expression of 125 firstborn males when the children were 10 months old. Maternal responsiveness was also related to higher conscience scores. psychological discipline was sufficient for positive moral development. may put a child at risk for social withdrawal and poor peer relations (Rubin.K. Kochanska asserted that the pathways to internalization are different for children who differ on fearfulness. Parenting processes were observed in the home. when the children were 15. and enact moral dilemmas with dolls and props. . where the child was challenged to not cheat in two rigged games. & Chen. characteristics of the mother–child relationship itself. and that strong parental power interferes with the internalization of social morals. in the use of gentle. Infant positive temperament (laughter/ smiling and orientation) and negative temperament (fear and distress-tolimitations) were derived from a parent report and laboratory observation. Putnam. 1995). Belsky. Child conscience was measured at 4. 27. Social inhibition Preschool children face increasing demands of social interaction. such as maternal responsiveness. Child sharing behavior was observed for 20 min during free play in the nursery school setting. provided support needed for children to internalize morals. but only for children high in negative emotionality. for fearful children. Stanhope measured parent report of child negative emotionality and parent-reported discipline.

While the studies varied on several dimensions (i. less sensitive and less affectionate. Sensitive mothering was related to more active engagement with other children and less inactive (passive) withdrawal in kindergarten. and intrusiveness. When parenting was less solicitous. hesitation to respond or interact. 1997) less sensitive. asserting their own objectives over those of the child. Differences in the parenting predictors of social inhibition between the two samples may have been due to differences in the outcome contexts. mothering that was affectively warm and responsive to the infant provided a base of emotional support for the fearful child.C. Early. they participated in a series of activities in the laboratory. which were coded for social ‘‘wariness’’: facial expression of fear or shyness. However. fearful infants may have clung less to parents and demonstrated less fearfulness in social situations with parents present. but only for children who were highly fearful at 15 months. which could be generalized to prosocial behavior with peers. bodily tension. teachers reported child levels of active engagement and withdrawal in the classroom. when fathers were highly intrusive. Interaction of parenting processes and child temperament predicted child wariness in the lab. only highly negative infants were more wary at 3 years. Kagan (1997) has suggested that parentsÕ intrusiveness might be necessary for fearful children. Similarly. sensitivity. In one case (Park et al. negative infants were less wary at 3-years. Rimm-Kaufman.e. and Saluja (1999) reported contradictory findings in their examination of interaction between maternal sensitivity and child wariness in relation to social adjustment in the first week of kindergarten. When parents were intrusive with fearful . in order to encourage interaction with people. Maternal sensitivity interacted with wariness in prediction of kindergarten adjustment. and proximity-seeking with parent. age and gender of child). Alternatively. an explanation drawn from Bronfenbrenner and Morris (1998) suggests that proximal processes function differently in relation to distinct outcomes.634 K.. (1999)) positive parenting processes predicted less social inhibition for children who were negative as infants. When the children completed their first week of kindergarten.. The findings in the two social inhibition studies differ dramatically. Child behavioral inhibition was evaluated at 15 months in the Strange Situation with 235 children and their mothers. Gallagher / Developmental Review 22 (2002) 623–643 negative affect. When mothers were intrusive. When the children were 3-years old. Cox. negative parenting processes predicted less social inhibition for children who were more negative in infancy. affectively negative parenting would lead to negative adjustment outcomes. When parented sensitively. Maternal sensitivity was observed in three structured mother–child activities. These findings contradicted the authorsÕ expectation that intrusive. negative. child adjustment outcomes may reflect some aspect of the attachment working model. children who were fearful as infants may have later been less inhibited in the presence of novel peers and situations. According to the investigators. while in the other (Early et al.

Adjustment in the school years: Externalizing and internalizing pathology In middle childhood and adolescence the child spends substantial amounts of time in non-family environments. Maladjustment in this developmental period is made manifest by externalizing (e. monitoring consistency. lack of inhibition in the lab with parents present may have indicated an avoidant attachment relationship.K. such that difficult temperament served as a demand characteristic. and Mezzich (1996) explored the concurrent interaction of parental discipline and temperament in a sample of 152 pre-adolescent boys. The authors posited that children with difficult temperament were more likely to elicit harsh parenting. monitoring and harsh discipline. Blackson. Parental socialization research often focuses on discipline. withdrawal and depression) (Sanson & Rothbart. The interaction of discipline and temperament also predicted internalizing problems. including replication. 1992). more research. When parents used negative discipline. high fearful withdrawal. and Wells (1997) reported numerous interactions between parenting and child temperament. The 10–12-year old boys reported their own temperament and their parentsÕ discipline. aggression) and internalizing behaviors (e. 1995). Parental discipline incorporated consistency and severity. with high ratings of both indicating negative discipline. Parents reported their own involvement. The data were also consistent with the hypothesis of differential susceptibility.g.g. eliciting negative parenting and perpetuating negative adjustment outcomes for the child. Mothers reported child internalizing and externalizing behaviors. 1995). is needed to sort through these discrepancies..C. high negative emotion and low adaptability.. Child activity level was rated by the parent and child fearfulness was rated by the parent and child. Child difficult temperament was characterized by high activity. with negative parenting predicting depression only for difficult children. measured by parent involvement. Lockman. and rigidity (Chamberlain & Patterson. Gallagher / Developmental Review 22 (2002) 623–643 635 infants.. predicting both internalizing and externalizing behaviors. Colder. in that difficult children were more susceptible to the influence of parental discipline than were their nondifficult peers. increasing expectations on the childÕs ability to interact socially. externalizing behavior was more prevalent in children with difficult temperament than in non-difficult children. . Tarter. less inhibition in a novel environment may have indicated a secure attachment relationship (Suess et al. In another concurrent study of pre-adolescent boys. Sixty-four 4th and 5th grade boys and their parent completed questionnaires. Child aggression was reported by the childÕs teacher and child depression was reported by the child. Parental discipline and child temperament interacted. Clearly. For inhibited children who were parented sensitively.

. Bates et al. and 24-months old with Sample I and at 5-years old with Sample II. (1998) posited that more controlling maternal care helped resistant children develop internal controls. Low maternal restrictive control predicted more externalizing behavior. and Ridge (1998) explored the interaction of maternal parenting and child temperament in relation to externalizing problems. temperamentally negative boys were more susceptible to parenting processes in relation to adjustment outcomes. In both cases. Poor parental monitoring was related to child aggression for children high in activity level. but only for children high in resistance to control. Bates and colleagues examined temperamental resistance to control. but only for boys who exhibited temperament characteristics associated with risk. while mothers of Sample II children (N ¼ 156) completed retrospective versions of the same temperament measure when the children were 5-years old. 1998). but not when children were low or high in fearfulness. Maternal restrictive control interacted with temperament in prediction of later externalizing problems. While the findings of both Blackson et al. . ignoring or reacting angrily to outside guidance (Bates et al. but only when children were highly fearful. (1997) were complex.C. Bates. High ratings of restrictive control described maternal attempts to manage difficult child behavior using restrictions. Parental harsh discipline predicted child aggression in children moderate or high in fearfulness.636 K. negative temperament was more amenable to socialization influences of parenting than non-negative temperament. Harsh discipline also predicted child depression. Parenting processes characterized as highly controlling and harsh predicted negative adjustment outcomes. but not in children low in fearfulness. Mothers and teachers reported child externalizing behaviors several times between 7. Additionally.and 11-years old.and 24-months old. Maternal restrictive control was observed in the home. suggesting that high involvement may be intrusive for children who are average in their temperamental fearfulness. (1996) and Colder et al. Mothers of Sample I children (N ¼ 90) completed temperament questionnaires when the children were 13. supporting the differential susceptibility hypothesis. Pettit. threats and correction. Dodge. Mothering that was higher in power predicted better adjustment for children who were more resistant to control. In research drawing on data from two longitudinal samples. their specificity regarding temperament and parenting characteristics render a pattern consistent with bioecological theory. but not for children with low and moderate activity level. High parental restrictive control predicted low externalizing for children high in resistance. 13-. Both high and low levels of parental involvement predicted child depression when children were moderately fearful. defined as child behavior that is typically impulsive and uncontrollable. when infants were 6-. Gallagher / Developmental Review 22 (2002) 623–643 Parenting was related to child pathology in interaction with distinct characteristics of child temperament. but not for children low in resistance to control.

Sroufe. Bates et al. low-power mothering predicted positive adjustment only when children demonstrated more negative emotionality. high parental control that was not harsh had positive effects on adjustment when children were temperamentally negative. & Ridgeway. and emerging research suggests that parental socialization plays a distinct role for children of different temperaments. and examined change over time. Vandell.K. there is evidence that parenting bears considerable import for childrenÕs adjustment (Collins et al. In middle childhood and adolescence. demonstrate better social and peer skills as a result of a caregiver–child relationship based on sensitive and responsive parenting (Bretherton. (1998) examined parental control as distinct from harshness. One of the primary goals of this review was to identify an appropriate theoretical foundation for this emergent line of research. (1997). In early childhood. higher parental control was related to more positive child outcomes. Parenting proximal processes did not interact with child temperament in studies limited to infancy.C. Gallagher / Developmental Review 22 (2002) 623–643 637 The findings of Bates et al. Biringen. attachment theorists posit that all children. (1998) converge with those of Park et al. 1995). Parental control interacted with negative characteristics of child temperament to constrain the potential expression of negative behavior at later points of development.. differences that may have accounted for the discrepancy. Conclusions: A conditional model of parenting influence Despite contentions to the contrary (see Harris. While Kagan (1997) suggested that more socially demanding parental control decreases later shyness for fearful children. Both intrusive and sensitive parenting were associated with less shyness in the preschool years. Kochanska (1997) suggested that main effects of . Several considerations provide guidance for ongoing research. 2000. 1985). (1997). responsive. however. 2000). harsh parenting had deleterious effects for children who demonstrated negative temperament characteristics. 1991. including fearful ones. as well as in relation to the childÕs temperament. Unlike the findings of Blackson et al. Children with negative temperament characteristics were more susceptible parental control in relation to adjustment outcomes. providing support for the differential susceptibility hypothesis. for children that were highly fearful as infants. Higher parental control than previously posited may facilitate adjustment in school-age children who are fearful or resistant to control. (1996) and Colder et al. Developmental considerations Positive parenting varies in relation to the childÕs developmental level.

638 K. in that processes and interactions are posited to grow more complex over time (Bronfenbrenner & Morris. and remote variables of parenting. High parental monitoring may not be important for fearful children who are less likely to take risks. Low-SES mothers of highly negative infants participated in a skill-based program focusing on improving perception. Using pre.and post-measures of child adjustment. The interaction of parenting and temperament could also be investigated using experiments. More longitudinal data will be necessary to test this position. the researcher could tease out the processes via which children with particular temperament characteristics are parented most effectively. further research is needed to examine parenting and temperament interaction at different developmental periods. it could be expected to interact with high activity or low fearfulness to constrain dangerous risk-taking behavior. and that interactions are more common as development proceeds. such as social support and parent personality. with groups randomly assigned. father and mother. 1998). However. stimulating and attentive than the control mothers. Gallagher / Developmental Review 22 (2002) 623–643 parenting and temperament are more visible in earlier development. This hypothesis is consistent with bioecological theory. A fine-grained approach to the examination of interaction of temperament and parenting could provide insight beyond consideration of global constructs such as ‘‘difficult’’ temperament and ‘‘negative’’ parenting. but predict negative adjustment when children are highly fearful. When the children were a year old. One strategy would be to test the different aspects of harsh parenting in interaction with qualities of temperament as related to adjustment. Another strategy might examine different levels and types of parental monitoring in interaction with temperament. the mothers of the intervention groups were more responsive. balanced in terms of child temperament characteristics. Other factors could include child gender. and responsiveness to their infantÕs cues. research design and analytical strategies.C. Different parenting techniques could be taught and emphasized to groups of parents. It is clear that the socialization needs of children change as development progresses. interpretation. involving variable specificity. Intervention was a powerful factor in experimental work of van den Boom (1994). and their children were more sociable and less negative than the controls. Methodological considerations Several methodological considerations could be incorporated into ongoing research. Experimental research implementing intervention . When the children were 9-months old. the intervention infant infants were more likely to be securely attached than the controls. and including control groups. Parental high control may predict positive adjustment when children are highly resistant to control.

parenting processes may not influence the course of inhibition. and even defend play territory from aggressive children. Context and Time should also be considered. a combined approach of investigation. and societal attitudes. economic status. is not considered a negative temperament characteristic. A parent might exert control by encouraging a fearful child to approach playmates. Culture. family structure and neighborhood are all elements of Context that interact with parenting Processes. Research authentic to bioecological systems theory must consider appropriate elements of Context. however. A moderator model tests hypotheses of conditional influence. may provide a richer understanding of ‘‘the ecology of developmental processes’’ (Bronfenbrenner & Morris. viewed as a process involving the child and parent reciprocally. The child might demonstrate shyness in school. and observed over Time. some Asian) child inhibition. For children raised in such cultural contexts. however. Attachment security. Theoretical considerations Under the umbrella of the Process–Person–Context–Time model. As an example.. and to speculate regarding causal mechanisms. and has a working model that provides a sense of security and self-worth. 1998).g. famine) different parenting and . are factors that may mediate the interaction of parenting and child temperament. moderators of an association are identified. differential susceptibility. 1991). Person and Time to sculpt the course of a childÕs life. Other elements of Context that may interact with processes of parenting and child temperament include political conditions. and developmental stage. but would not necessarily exhibit negative adjustment.K..g. or shyness. In some cultures (e.C. respond politely to adults. In extreme contexts (e. Baron and Kenny (1986) suggested using mediated moderation. Gallagher / Developmental Review 22 (2002) 623–643 639 strategies with both negative and non-negative infants could test both the bioecological framework and differential susceptibility hypothesis. combined with elements of Context. A mediated moderator approach could enrich the study of parenting–temperament interaction. Parenting. war. Using a path analytic framework. If the child is securely attached to the parent. to address this limitation. parental attitudes or experience. typically associated with fearfulness. a childÕs internal working model of self and parent could facilitate the interactive influence of parenting and temperament on adjustment. the child may not exhibit poorer social adjustment. and causal paths are explored to identify variables influencing the moderatorÕs effect on the predictor. social policy. statistical interactions allow us to look at the effects only superficially (Rutter & Pickles. This review focused on the Process and Person aspects of the PPCT model. we can begin to evaluate the structure of the childÕs developmental milieu.

Exploring the interactive effects of Person (temperament) and Process (parenting) as related to child adjustment. E. Applications of temperament concepts. A. M. Belsky suggested that heritability estimates could help to test this hypothesis further. Baron. Bates. more environmental contribution to the high and low levels could be assumed. C. K. strategic. D. pp. Waters. . & M. Lerner. 51(6). 1998. IL: University of Chicago Press. fearfulness or activity level were more susceptible to parental control and responsiveness than children who were less fearful. Waters (Eds. S. E. & Kenny.C.. A.). as children with different temperament profiles varied in their sensitivity to parental influence. In I. A. Hillsdale. such as parenting proximal processes. a model should advance understanding of developmental processes (Wachs. The interaction of parenting processes and child temperament need to be explored in extreme contexts. Ultimately. and extending research to include elements of Context and Time. Wachs. and statistical considerations. Attachment security. The historical milieu in which children develop should also be considered.. Bretherton & E. R. J. Gallagher / Developmental Review 22 (2002) 623–643 temperament characteristics may be associated with child adjustment. (1985). In G. Negative temperament characteristics may not be amenable to change when they are adaptive.). Bates. 1997) is supported in the literature reviewed. 1173–1182. active or negative.. If high or low levels of some ‘‘behavioral style’’ were shown to be less heritable than traits at other levels. D. Research should be longitudinal when possible (Bronfenbrenner & Morris. (1978). A.640 K. 1991). The differential susceptibility hypothesis (Belsky. as in a famine (see DeVries. & Wall. (1986). 167–193). 1998. Chicago. Time also needs to be considered in research that examines the interaction of parenting and temperament. E. Children higher in negative emotion. 1991).. Maslin.. M. we pursue the ultimate goal: better understanding of the characteristics and circumstances of parenting that promote positive child adjustment for children of different temperaments. C. M. beyond the influences of temperament and parenting alone. & Frankel. E. Rothbart (Eds. 50. Bates. mother–child interaction and temperament as predictors of behavior-problem ratings at age three years. NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. (1989). The moderator–mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual. Patterns of attachment: Assessed in the strange situation and at home. J. Blehar.. indicating greater amenability to influences. K. 1984). Growing points of attachment theory and research (Vol. Kohnstamm. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. in order to address changes over time in children and parentsÕ behavior. Children who were more negative in their affect and/or withdrew from stimuli were more vulnerable to the effects of parenting. New York: Wiley. More parental control may be necessary in dangerous environments. References Ainsworth. J. 321–355). Temperament in childhood (pp. Effects were evident in prosocial behavior and behavior problems.

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