Skip to main content
×
Home

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

  • Erika S. Lunkenheimer (a1), Sheryl L. Olson (a2), Tom Hollenstein (a3), Arnold J. Sameroff (a2) and Charlotte Winter (a4)...
Abstract
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.

Copyright
Corresponding author
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.
References
Hide All
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.
Achenbach T. M. (1991a). Manual for the Child Behavior Checklist/4–18 and 1991 profile. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont, Department of Psychiatry.
Achenbach T. M. (1991b). Caregiver/Teacher Report Form for ages 5–18. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont, Department of Psychiatry.
Achenbach T. M. (1992). Manual for the Child Behavior Checklist/2–3 and 1992 profile. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont, Department of Psychiatry.
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.
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.
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.
Calkins S. D. (1994). Origins and outcomes of individual differences in emotion regulation. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 59, 5372.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Denham S. A., & Kochanoff A. T. (2002). Parental contributions to preschoolers' understanding of emotion. Marriage & Family Review, 34, 311343.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Feldman R. (2003). Infant–mother and infant–father synchrony: The coregulation of positive arousal. Infant Mental Health Journal, 24, 123.
Feldman R. (2007). On the origins of background emotions: From affect synchrony to symbolic expression. Emotion, 7, 601611.
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.
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.
Fredrickson B. L. (2001). The role of positive emotions in positive psychology: The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. American Psychologist, 56, 218226.
Fredrickson B. L., & Branigan C. (2005). Positive emotions broaden the scope of attention and thought-action repertoires. Cognition & Emotion, 19, 313332.
Garside R. B., & Klimes-Dougan B. (2002). Socialization of discrete negative emotions: Gender differences and links with psychological distress. Sex Roles, 47, 115128.
Gordon I., & Feldman R. (2008). Synchrony in the triad: A microlevel process model of coparenting and parent–child interactions. Family Process, 47, 465479.
Gottman J. M. (1994). What predicts divorce? Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
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.
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.
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.
Hollenstein T. (2007). State space grids: Analyzing dynamics across development. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 31, 384396.
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.
Hollenstein T., & Lewis M. (2006). A state space analysis of emotion and flexibility in parent–child interactions. Emotion, 6, 656662.
Hollingshead A. B. (1975). Four Factor Index of Social Status. Unpublished manuscript.
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.
Keenan K., & Shaw D. (1997). Developmental and social influences on young girls' early problem behavior. Psychological Bulletin, 121, 95113.
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.
King S. M., Iacono W. G., & McGue M. (2004). Childhood externalizing and internalizing psychopathology in the prediction of early substance use. Addiction, 99, 15481559.
Kochanska G., & Aksan N. (2004). Development of mutual responsiveness between parents and their young children. Child Development, 75, 16571676.
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.
Lamey A. V., Hollenstein T., Lewis M. D., & Granic I. (2004). GridWare (Version 1.1). [Computer software]. Retrieved from http://statespacegrids.org
Lewis M. D. (2000). The promise of dynamic systems approaches for an integrated account of human development. Child Development, 71, 3643.
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.
Losada M. (1999). The complex dynamics of high performance teams. Mathematical and Computer Modeling, 30, 179192.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Muthén L. K., & Muthén B. O. (1998–2007). Mplus user's guide (5th ed.). Los Angeles: Author.
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.
Olson S. L. & Sameroff A. J. (1997). Social risk and self-regulation problems in early childhood. Bethesda, MD: National Institute of Mental Health.
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.
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.
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.
Phares V. (1996). Fathers and developmental psychopathology. Oxford: Wiley.
Rafferty A. E. (1995). Bayesian model selection in social research. In Marsden P. (Ed.), Sociological methodology (pp. 111–195). Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.
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.
Roberts W. L., & Strayer J. (1987). Parents' responses to the emotional distress of their children: Relations with children's competence. Developmental Psychology, 23, 415422.
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.
Sameroff A. J., & Chandler M. (1975). Early influences on development: Fact or fancy? Merrill–Palmer Quarterly, 21, 267294.
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.
Schwarz G. E. (1978). Estimating the dimension of a model. Annals of Statistics, 6, 461464.
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.
Singer J. D., & Willett J. B. (2003). Applied longitudinal data analysis: Modeling change and event occurrence. New York: Oxford University Press.
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.
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.
Wechsler D. (1991). Manual for the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (3rd ed.) New York: Psychological Corporation.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Development and Psychopathology
  • ISSN: 0954-5794
  • EISSN: 1469-2198
  • URL: /core/journals/development-and-psychopathology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 19
Total number of PDF views: 239 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 530 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 19th November 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.