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Dyadic flexibility and positive affect in mother-child interaction and child effortful control as independent and interacting predictors of child internalizing behaviors




Albrecht, Erin C., author
Lunkenheimer, Erika S., advisor
Fidler, Deborah J., committee member
Most, David, committee member

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The current study examined both the structure (i.e., in terms of dynamic systems based indicators of flexibility) and the affective content of mother-child interaction, as these relate to children's internalizing behaviors. Child effortful control (EC) was also examined. Together, child EC, dyadic flexibility and dyadic positive affect were tested as independent and interactive predictors of children's internalizing behaviors. In a sample of 100 mother-child dyads when children were approximately 3 years of age, dyads participated in a free play interaction task, and children's EC was observed in a gift delay, snack, and tower task at T1. At T2, mothers and partners reported on children's internalizing behaviors. Child EC significantly predicted internalizing behaviors at T2; there were significant within-time relations between dynamic measures of mother-child interaction and internalizing, and the relation between dynamic measures of mother-child affect at T1 showed a trend towards significantly predicting internalizing at T2. This short-term longitudinal assessment of mother-child interaction and child EC illustrates the complex processes involved in the prediction of children's internalizing behaviors.


2012 Summer.
Includes bibliographical references.

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child behavior problems
parent-child interaction
effortful control
child development


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