Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-7f7b94f6bd-5bz6h Total loading time: 0.358 Render date: 2022-06-30T08:08:43.302Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

Dyadic flexibility and positive affect in parent–child coregulation and the development of child behavior problems

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  18 April 2011

Erika S. Lunkenheimer*
Affiliation:
Colorado State University
Sheryl L. Olson
Affiliation:
University of Michigan
Tom Hollenstein
Affiliation:
Queen's University
Arnold J. Sameroff
Affiliation:
University of Michigan
Charlotte Winter
Affiliation:
University of Oregon
*
Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Erika S. Lunkenheimer, Human Development & Family Studies, 303 Behavioral Sciences Building, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, 80523-1570; E-mail: erika.lunkenheimer@colostate.edu.

Abstract

Parent–child dyadic rigidity and negative affect contribute to children's higher levels of externalizing problems. The present longitudinal study examined whether the opposite constructs of dyadic flexibility and positive affect predicted lower levels of externalizing behavior problems across the early childhood period. Mother–child (N = 163) and father–child (n = 94) dyads engaged in a challenging block design task at home when children were 3 years old. Dynamic systems methods were used to derive dyadic positive affect and three indicators of dyadic flexibility (range, dispersion, and transitions) from observational coding. We hypothesized that the interaction between dyadic flexibility and positive affect would predict lower levels of externalizing problems at age 5.5 years as rated by mothers and teachers, controlling for stability in externalizing problems, task time, child gender, and the child's effortful control. The hypothesis was supported in predicting teacher ratings of child externalizing from both mother–child and father–child interactions. There were also differential main effects for mothers and fathers: mother–child flexibility was detrimental and father–child flexibility was beneficial for child outcomes. Results support the inclusion of adaptive and dynamic parent–child coregulation processes in the study of children's early disruptive behavior.

Type
Regular Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Achenbach, T. M. (1990). Conceptualization of developmental psychopathology. In Lewis, M. & Miller, S. M. (Eds.), Handbook of developmental psychopathology (pp. 3–14). New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
Achenbach, T. M. (1991a). Manual for the Child Behavior Checklist/4–18 and 1991 profile. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont, Department of Psychiatry.Google Scholar
Achenbach, T. M. (1991b). Caregiver/Teacher Report Form for ages 5–18. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont, Department of Psychiatry.Google Scholar
Achenbach, T. M. (1992). Manual for the Child Behavior Checklist/2–3 and 1992 profile. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont, Department of Psychiatry.Google Scholar
Ashby, F. G., Isen, A. M., & Turken, A. U. (1999). A neuropsychological theory of positive affect and its influence on cognition. Psychological Review, 106, 529550.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Baron, R. M., & Kenny, D. A. (1986). The moderator–mediator distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 11731182.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Bronfenbrenner, U., & Morris, P. A. (1998). The ecology of developmental processes. In Damon, W. & Lerner, R. M. (Eds.), Handbook of child psychology: Vol. 1. Theoretical models of human development (5th ed., pp. 993–1028). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
Calkins, S. D. (1994). Origins and outcomes of individual differences in emotion regulation. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 59, 5372.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Calkins, S. D., Smith, C. L., Gill, K. L., & Johnson, M. C. (1998). Maternal interactive style across contexts: Relations to emotional, behavioral, and physiological regulation during toddlerhood. Social Development, 7, 350369.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Campbell, S. B., Spieker, S., Burchinal, M., & Poe, M. D. (2006). Trajectories of aggression from toddlerhood to age 9 predict academic and social functioning through age 12. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47, 791800.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Cicchetti, D., & Toth, S. L. (1997). Transactional ecological systems in developmental psychopathology. In Luthar, S. S. & Burack, J. A. (Eds.), Developmental psychopathology: Perspectives on adjustment, risk, and disorder (pp. 317–349). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Cole, P. M., Martin, S. E., & Dennis, T. A. (2004). Emotion regulation as a scientific construct: Methodological challenges and directions for child development research. Child Development, 75, 317333.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Cole, P. M., Teti, L. O., & Zahn-Waxler, C. (2003). Mutual emotion regulation and the stability of conduct problems between preschool and school age. Development and Psychopathology, 15, 118.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Deater-Deckard, K., Atzaba-Poria, N., & Pike, A. (2004). Mother– and father–child mutuality in Anglo and Indian British families: A link with lower externalizing problems. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 32, 609620.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Denham, S. A., & Kochanoff, A. T. (2002). Parental contributions to preschoolers' understanding of emotion. Marriage & Family Review, 34, 311343.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Denham, S. A., Workman, E., Cole, P. M., Weissbrod, C., Kendziora, K. T., & Zahn-Waxler, C. (2000). Prediction of externalizing behavior problems from early to middle childhood: The role of parental socialization and emotion expression. Development and Psychopathology, 12, 2345.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Dishion, T. J., Andrews, D. W., & Crosby, L. (1995). Antisocial boys and their friends in early adolescence: Relationship characteristics, quality, and interactional process. Child Development, 66, 139151.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Dishion, T. J., Duncan, T. E., Eddy, J. M., & Fagot, B. I. (1994). The world of parents and peers: Coercive exchanges and children's social adaptation. Social Development, 3, 255268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dishion, T. J., Nelson, S. E., Winter, C. E., & Bullock, B. M. (2004). Adolescent friendship as a dynamic system: Entropy and deviance in the etiology and course of male antisocial behavior. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 32, 651663.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Dumas, J. E., LaFreniere, P. J., & Serketich, W. J. (1995). “Balance of power”: A transactional analysis of control in mother–child dyads involving socially competent, aggressive, and anxious children. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 104, 104113.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Dumas, J. E., Lemay, P., & Dauwalder, J. (2001). Dynamic analyses of mother–child interactions in functional and dysfunctional dyads: A synergetic approach. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 29, 317329.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Dunn, J., & Brown, J. (1994). Affect expression in the family, children's understanding of emotions, and their interaction with others. Merrill–Palmer Quarterly, 40, 120137.Google Scholar
Eisenberg, N., Gershoff, E. T., Fabes, R. A., Shepard, S. A., Cumberland, A. J., Losoya, S. H., et al. (2001). Mothers' emotional expressivity and children's behavior problems and social competence: Mediation through children's regulation. Developmental Psychology, 37, 475490.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Eisenberg, N., Zhou, Q., Spinrad, T. L., Valiente, C., Fabes, R. A., & Liew, J. (2005). Relations among positive parenting, children's effortful control, and externalizing problems: A three-wave longitudinal study. Child Development, 76, 10551071.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Feldman, R. (2003). Infant–mother and infant–father synchrony: The coregulation of positive arousal. Infant Mental Health Journal, 24, 123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Feldman, R. (2007). On the origins of background emotions: From affect synchrony to symbolic expression. Emotion, 7, 601611.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Feldman, R., Greenbaum, C. W., & Yirmiya, N. (1999). Mother–infant affect synchrony as an antecedent of the emergence of self-control. Developmental Psychology, 35, 223231.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Fogel, A. (1993). Two principles of communication: Co-regulation and framing. In Nadel, J. & Camaioni, L. (Eds.), New perspectives in early communicative development (pp. 9–22). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
Fredrickson, B. L. (2001). The role of positive emotions in positive psychology: The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. American Psychologist, 56, 218226.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Fredrickson, B. L., & Branigan, C. (2005). Positive emotions broaden the scope of attention and thought-action repertoires. Cognition & Emotion, 19, 313332.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Garside, R. B., & Klimes-Dougan, B. (2002). Socialization of discrete negative emotions: Gender differences and links with psychological distress. Sex Roles, 47, 115128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Gordon, I., & Feldman, R. (2008). Synchrony in the triad: A microlevel process model of coparenting and parent–child interactions. Family Process, 47, 465479.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Gottman, J. M. (1994). What predicts divorce? Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
Granic, I. (2000). The self-organization of parent–child relations: Beyond bidirectional models. In Lewis, M. D. & Granic, I. (Eds.), Emotion, development, and self-organization: Dynamic systems approaches to emotional development (pp. 267–297). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Granic, I., O'Hara, A., Pepler, D., & Lewis, M. D. (2007). A dynamic systems analysis of parent–child changes associated with successful “real-world” interventions for aggressive children. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 35, 845857.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Harrist, A. W., Pettit, G. S., Dodge, K. E., & Bates, J. E. (1994). Dyadic synchrony in mother–child interaction: Relation with children's subsequent kindergarten adjustment. Family Relations, 43, 417424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hollenstein, T. (2007). State space grids: Analyzing dynamics across development. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 31, 384396.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hollenstein, T., Granic, I., Stoolmiller, M., & Snyder, J. (2004). Rigidity in parent–child interactions and the development of externalizing and internalizing behavior in early childhood. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 32, 595607.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Hollenstein, T., & Lewis, M. (2006). A state space analysis of emotion and flexibility in parent–child interactions. Emotion, 6, 656662.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Hollingshead, A. B. (1975). Four Factor Index of Social Status. Unpublished manuscript.Google Scholar
Ito, T. A., Larsen, J. T., Smith, N. K., & Cacioppo, J. T. (1998). Negative information weighs more heavily on the brain: The negativity bias in evaluative categorizations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 887900.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Keenan, K., & Shaw, D. (1997). Developmental and social influences on young girls' early problem behavior. Psychological Bulletin, 121, 95113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Kelley, S. A., Brownell, C. A., & Campbell, S. B. (2000). Mastery motivation and self-evaluative affect in toddlers: Longitudinal relations with maternal behavior. Child Development, 71, 10611071.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
King, S. M., Iacono, W. G., & McGue, M. (2004). Childhood externalizing and internalizing psychopathology in the prediction of early substance use. Addiction, 99, 15481559.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Kochanska, G., & Aksan, N. (2004). Development of mutual responsiveness between parents and their young children. Child Development, 75, 16571676.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Kochanska, G., Murray, K. T., Jacques, T. Y., Koenig, A. L., & Vandegeest, K. (1996). Inhibitory control in young children and its role in emerging internalization. Child Development, 67, 490507.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Lamey, A. V., Hollenstein, T., Lewis, M. D., & Granic, I. (2004). GridWare (Version 1.1). [Computer software]. Retrieved from http://statespacegrids.orgGoogle Scholar
Lewis, M. D. (2000). The promise of dynamic systems approaches for an integrated account of human development. Child Development, 71, 3643.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Lewis, M. D, Lamey, A. V., & Douglas, L. (1999). A new dynamic systems method for the analysis of early socioemotional development. Developmental Science, 2, 457475.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Losada, M. (1999). The complex dynamics of high performance teams. Mathematical and Computer Modeling, 30, 179192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Loukas, A., Zucker, R. A., Fitzgerald, H. E., & Krull, J. L. (2003). Developmental trajectories of disruptive behavior problems among sons of alcoholics: Effects of parent psychopathology, family conflict, and child undercontrol. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 112, 119131.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Low, S. M., & Stocker, C. (2005). Family functioning and children's adjustment: Associations among parents' depressed mood, marital hostility, parent–child hostility, and children's adjustment. Journal of Family Psychology, 19, 394403.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Lunkenheimer, E. S., & Dishion, T. J. (2009). Developmental psychopathology: Maladaptive and adaptive attractors in children's close relationships. In Guastello, S., Koopmans, M., & Pincus, D. (Eds.), Chaos and complexity: Recent advances and future directions in the theory of nonlinear dynamical systems psychology (pp. 282–306). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Lunkenheimer, E. S., Dishion, T. J., Shaw, D. S., Connell, A. M., Gardner, F., Wilson, M., et al. (2008). Collateral benefits of the family check-up on early childhood school readiness: Indirect effects of parents' positive behavior support. Developmental Psychology, 44, 17371752.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Lunkenheimer, E. S., Shields, A. M., & Cortina, K. S. (2007). Parental coaching and dismissing of children's emotions in family interaction. Social Development, 16, 232248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Mize, J., & Pettit, G. S. (1997). Mothers' social coaching, mother–child relationship style, and children's peer competence: Is the medium the message? Child Development, 68, 312332.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (1998–2007). Mplus user's guide (5th ed.). Los Angeles: Author.Google Scholar
Olson, S. L., & Lunkenheimer, E. S. (2009). Expanding concepts of self-regulation to social relationships: Transactional processes in the development of early behavioral adjustment. In Sameroff, A. J. (Ed.), Transactional processes in development (pp. 55–76). Washington, DC: APA Press.Google Scholar
Olson, S. L. & Sameroff, A. J. (1997). Social risk and self-regulation problems in early childhood. Bethesda, MD: National Institute of Mental Health.Google Scholar
Olson, S. L., Sameroff, A. J., Kerr, D. C. R., Lopez, N. L., & Wellman, H. M. (2005). Developmental foundations of externalizing problems in young children: The role of effortful control. Development and Psychopathology, 17, 2545.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Patterson, G. R. (1972). Reprogramming the families of aggressive boys. In Thoresen, C. E. (Ed.), Behavior modification in education. Oxford: National Society for the Study of Education.Google Scholar
Pettit, G. S., Bates, J. E., & Dodge, K. A. (1997). Supportive parenting, ecological context, and children's adjustment: A seven-year longitudinal study. Child Development, 68, 908923.Google Scholar
Phares, V. (1996). Fathers and developmental psychopathology. Oxford: Wiley.Google Scholar
Rafferty, A. E. (1995). Bayesian model selection in social research. In Marsden, P. (Ed.), Sociological methodology (pp. 111–195). Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.Google Scholar
Raver, C. C., & Spagnola, M. (2003). “When my mommy was angry, I was speechless”: Children's perceptions of maternal emotional expressiveness within the context of economic hardship. Marriage & Family Review, 34, 6388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Roberts, W. L., & Strayer, J. (1987). Parents' responses to the emotional distress of their children: Relations with children's competence. Developmental Psychology, 23, 415422.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Rothbart, M. K. (1989). Temperament and development. In Kohnstamm, G. A., Bates, J. E., & Rothbart, M. K. (Eds.), Temperament in childhood (pp. 187–247). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
Sameroff, A. J., & Chandler, M. (1975). Early influences on development: Fact or fancy? Merrill–Palmer Quarterly, 21, 267294.Google Scholar
Sameroff, A. J., & MacKenzie, M. J. (2003). Research strategies for capturing transactional models of development: The limits of the possible. Development and Psychopathology, 15, 613640.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Schwarz, G. E. (1978). Estimating the dimension of a model. Annals of Statistics, 6, 461464.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shaw, D. S., Winslow, E. B., Owens, E. B., Vondra, J. J., Cohn, J. E., & Bell, R. Q. (1998). The development of early externalizing problems among children from low-income families: A transformational perspective. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 26, 95107.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Singer, J. D., & Willett, J. B. (2003). Applied longitudinal data analysis: Modeling change and event occurrence. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Smith, C. L., Calkins, S. D., Keane, S. P., Anastopoulos, A. D., & Shelton, T. L. (2004). Predicting stability and change in toddler behavior problems: Contributions of maternal behavior and child gender. Developmental Psychology, 40, 2942.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Tronick, E. Z., & Cohn, J. F. (1989). Infant–mother face-to-face interaction: Age and gender differences in coordination and the occurrence of miscoordination. Child Development, 60, 8592.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Wechsler, D. (1991). Manual for the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (3rd ed.) New York: Psychological Corporation.Google Scholar
99
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Dyadic flexibility and positive affect in parent–child coregulation and the development of child behavior problems
Available formats
×

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Dyadic flexibility and positive affect in parent–child coregulation and the development of child behavior problems
Available formats
×

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Dyadic flexibility and positive affect in parent–child coregulation and the development of child behavior problems
Available formats
×
×

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *