Pathways and processes of risk in associations among maternal antisocial personality symptoms, interparental aggression, and preschooler's psychopathology

Patrick T. Davies, Melissa L. Sturge-Apple, Dante Cicchetti, Liviah G. Manning, Sara E. Vonhold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Two studies examined the nature and processes underlying the joint role of interparental aggression and maternal antisocial personality as predictors of children's disruptive behavior problems. Participants for both studies included a high-risk sample of 201 mothers and their 2-year-old children in a longitudinal, multimethod design. Addressing the form of the interplay between interparental aggression and maternal antisocial personality as risk factors for concurrent and prospective levels of child disruptive problems, the Study 1 findings indicated that maternal antisocial personality was a predictor of the initial levels of preschooler's disruptive problems independent of the effects of interparental violence, comorbid forms of maternal psychopathology, and socioeconomic factors. In attesting to the salience of interparental aggression in the lives of young children, latent difference score analyses further revealed that interparental aggression mediated the link between maternal antisocial personality and subsequent changes in child disruptive problems over a 1-year period. To identify the family mechanisms that account for the two forms of intergenerational transmission of disruptive problems identified in Study 1, Study 2 explored the role of children's difficult temperament, emotional reactivity to interparental conflict, adrenocortical reactivity in a challenging parentchild task, and experiences with maternal parenting as mediating processes. Analyses identified child emotional reactivity to conflict and maternal unresponsiveness as mediators in pathways between interparental aggression and preschooler's disruptive problems. The findings further supported the role of blunted adrenocortical reactivity as an allostatic mediator of the associations between parental unresponsiveness and child disruptive problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)807-832
Number of pages26
JournalDevelopment and psychopathology
Volume24
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2012

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