Toddlers' Differential Susceptibility to the Effects of Coparenting on Social-Emotional Adjustment

Lauren E. Altenburger, Sarah N. Lang, Sarah J. Schoppe-Sullivan, Claire M. Kamp Dush, Susan Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

The paper reports on a study which tested whether infants high in negative affectivity are differentially susceptible to observed coparenting behavior in relation to their subsequent social-emotional development. Data came from a longitudinal study of 182 US dual-earner, primiparous couples and their infant children. At nine-months postpartum, child negative affectivity was reported by mothers and fathers and supportive and undermining coparenting behavior were assessed from mother-father-infant observations. At 27-months mothers reported on toddlers' externalizing behavior and dysregulation using a clinical assessment tool designed to identify competencies and areas of concern in toddlers' social-emotional development. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed partial support for the differential susceptibility hypothesis. Specifically, infants high in negative affectivity had lower levels of dysregulation when embedded in a more supportive coparenting context, and higher levels of dysregulation when embedded in a less supportive coparenting context. In contrast, supportive coparenting behavior was not relevant for the dysregulation of infants initially low in negative affectivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)228-237
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Development
Volume41
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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