The role of parents' attachment orientations, depressive symptoms, and conflict behaviors in children's externalizing and internalizing behavior problems

Jennifer F. Marchand, Steven Schedler, David A. Wagstaff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present study examined links among parents' attachment orientations, depressive symptoms, and conflict behaviors (attacking and compromising) and children's externalizing and internalizing behavior problems in a sample of 64 nonclinical, Caucasian families. Correlational analyses showed that all three parent attributes were significantly related to children's behavior problems. When a regression-based approach recommended by Baron and Kenny [The moderator-mediator distinction in social psychological research: conceptual, strategic, and statistical contributions, J. Personal. Social Psychol. 51 (1986) 1173-1182] was applied to the data, some indirect pathways between parents' attachment orientations and children's behavior problems were found. Results indicated that mothers' depressive symptoms mediated the relation between mothers' attachment anxiety and children's internalizing behaviors, whereas fathers' depressive symptoms partially mediated the relation between fathers' attachment anxiety and children's internalizing behaviors. Findings provide support for the idea that attachment theory [J. Bowlby, The making and breaking of affectional bonds, Br. J. Psychiatry 130 (1977) 201-210] is useful for understanding the role of parents' intimate relationships and depressive symptoms in their children's behavioral adjustment and highlight the importance of addressing mothers' and fathers' attributes separately.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-462
Number of pages14
JournalEarly Childhood Research Quarterly
Volume19
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 28 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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