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Association between maladaptive parenting and child self-control over time: cross-lagged study using a monozygotic twin difference design

  • Charlotte A. M. Cecil (a1), Edward D. Barker (a2), Sara R. Jaffee (a3) and Essi Viding (a4)
Abstract
Background

Harsh parenting practices and negative parental feelings may be environmental risk factors for low self-control in children. Children may also evoke certain parenting reactions.

Aims

To investigate the longitudinal relationship between parenting and self-control, as well as associated outcomes within the monozygotic (MZ) twin differences framework.

Method

Longitudinal MZ twin differences analysis was conducted on a community sample of 5184 twins using data from ages 3, 4, 7 and 9 years. Outcomes related to self-control and parenting were analysed at age 12 years.

Results

Non-shared environmental effects of parenting on the development of self-control and an evocative effect of child self-control on parenting were found. Harsh parenting predicted conduct problems for both boys and girls. Self-control at age 9 predicted conduct problems and emotional difficulties at age 12.

Conclusions

Parenting and child self-control affect one another, highlighting the potential of early interventions that target parents and children simultaneously.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Essi Viding, Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, University College London, 26 Bedford Way, London WC1H 0AP, UK. Email: e.viding@ucl.ac.uk
Footnotes
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These authors were equal senior contributors to this work.

The Twins Early Development Study receives support from the UK Medical Research Council (G0500079). C.A.M.C. was supported by Kids-Company charity studentship during the writing of the article.

Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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Association between maladaptive parenting and child self-control over time: cross-lagged study using a monozygotic twin difference design

  • Charlotte A. M. Cecil (a1), Edward D. Barker (a2), Sara R. Jaffee (a3) and Essi Viding (a4)
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