Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Interparental conflict, parent psychopathology, hostile parenting, and child antisocial behavior: Examining the role of maternal versus paternal influences using a novel genetically sensitive research design

  • Gordon T. Harold (a1), Kit K. Elam (a1), Gemma Lewis (a2), Frances Rice (a3) and Anita Thapar (a2)...

Abstract

Past research has linked interparental conflict, parent psychopathology, hostile parenting, and externalizing behavior problems in childhood. However, few studies have examined these relationships while simultaneously allowing the contribution of common genetic factors underlying associations between family- and parent-level variables on child psychopathology to be controlled. Using the attributes of a genetically sensitive in vitro fertilization research design, the present study examined associations among interparental conflict, parents' antisocial behavior problems, parents' anxiety symptoms, and hostile parenting on children's antisocial behavior problems among genetically related and genetically unrelated mother–child and father–child groupings. Path analyses revealed that for genetically related mothers, interparental conflict and maternal antisocial behavior indirectly influenced child antisocial behavior through mother-to-child hostility. For genetically unrelated mothers, effects were apparent only for maternal antisocial behavior on child antisocial behavior through mother-to-child hostility. For both genetically related and genetically unrelated fathers and children, interparental conflict and paternal antisocial behavior influenced child antisocial behavior through father-to-child hostility. Effects of parental anxiety symptoms on child antisocial behavior were apparent only for genetically related mothers and children. Results are discussed with respect to the relative role of passive genotype–environment correlation as a possible confounding factor underlying family process influences on childhood psychopathology.

Copyright

Corresponding author

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Gordon T. Harold, School of Psychology, HWB 0/40b, Henry Wellcome Building, University of Leicester, Lancaster Road, Leicester LE1 9HN, UK; E-mail: gth9@le.ac.uk.

References

Hide All
American Psychiatric Association (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed., text rev.). Washington, DC: Author.
Anderson, A. N., Gianaroli, L., Felberbaum, R., de Mouzon, J., & Nygren, K. G. (2006). Assisted reproductive technology in Europe, 2002: Results generated from European registers by ESHRE. Human Reproduction, 21, 16801697.
Baron, R. M., & Kenny, D. A. (1986). The moderator–mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 11731182.
Belsky, J. (1981). Early human experience: A family perspective. Developmental Psychology, 17, 323.
Capaldi, D. M., Pears, K. C., Kerr, D. C. R., & Owen, L. D. (2008). Intergenerational and partner influences on fathers' negative discipline. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 36, 347358.
Capaldi, D. M., Pears, K. C., Patterson, G. R., & Owen, L. D. (2003). Continuity of parenting practices across generations in an at-risk sample: A prospective comparison of direct and mediated associations. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 31, 127142.
Caspi, A., McClay, J., Moffitt, T. E., Mill, J., Martin, J., Craig, I. W., et al. (2002). Role of genotype in the cycle of violence in maltreated children. Science, 297, 851854.
Collishaw, S., Maughan, B., Goodman, R., & Pickles, A. (2004). Time trends in adolescent mental health. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 45, 13501362.
Combs-Ronto, L. A., Olson, S. L., Lunkenheimer, E. S., & Sameroff, A. J. (2009). Interactions between maternal parenting and children's early disruptive behavior: Bidirectional associations across the transition from preschool to school entry. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 37, 11511163.
Conger, R. D., Neppl, T., Kim, K. J., & Scaramella, L. (2003). Angry and aggressive behavior across three generations: A prospective, longitudinal study of parents and children. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 31, 143160.
Connell, A. M., & Goodman, S. H. (2002). The association between psychopathology in fathers versus mothers and children's internalizing and externalizing behavior problems: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 128, 746773.
Cowan, P. A., & Cowan, C. P. (2002). Interventions as tests of family systems theories: Marital and family relationships in children's development and psychopathology. Development and Psychopathology, 14, 731759.
Davies, P. T., & Cummings, E. M. (2002). Effects of marital conflict on children: Recent advances and emerging themes in process-oriented research. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 43, 3163.
Derogatis, L. R. (1994). Symptoms Checklist 90-R Administration, scoring procedures manual (3rd ed.). Minneapolis, MN: National Computer Systems.
D'Onofrio, B. M., Turkheimer, E. N., Eaves, L. J., Corey, L. A., Berg, K., Solaas, M. H., et al. (2003). The role of the children of twins design in elucidating causal relations between parent characteristics and child outcomes. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 44, 130144.
Erel, O., & Burman, B. (1995). Interrelatedness of marital relations and parent–child relations: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin, 118, 108132.
Feinberg, M. E., Button, T. M., Neiderhiser, J. M., Reiss, D., & Hetherington, E. M. (2007). Parenting and adolescent antisocial behavior and depression: Evidence of Genotype × Parenting environment interaction. Archives of General Psychiatry, 64, 457465.
Forbes, E. E., Cohn, J. F., Allen, N. B., & Lewinsohn, P. M. (2004). Infant affect during parent–infant interaction at 3 and 6 months: Differences between mothers and fathers and influence of parent history of depression. Infancy, 5, 6184.
Ford, T. (2008). Practitioner review: How can epidemiology help us plan and deliver effective child and adolescent mental health services? Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 49, 900914.
Freeman, E. W., Rickels, K., Tausig, J., Boxer, A., Mastroianni, L., & Tureck, R. W. (1987). Emotional and psychosocial factors in follow-up of women after IVF-ET treatment: A pilot investigation. Acta Obstetrics and Gynecology Scandanavia, 66, 517521.
Ge, X., Conger, R. J., Cadoret, R., Neiderhiser, J. M., Yates, W., Troughton, E., et al. (1996). The developmental interface between nature and nurture: A mutual influence model of child antisocial behavior and parent behaviors. Developmental Psychology, 32, 574589.
Goodman, R. (1997). The Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire: A research note. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 38, 581586.
Grych, J. H., Fincham, F. D., Jouriles, E. N., & McDonald, R. (2000). Interparental conflict and child adjustment: Testing the mediational role of appraisals in the cognitive–contextual framework. Child Development, 71, 16481661.
Harlow, C. R., Fahy, U. M., Talbot, W. M., Wardle, P. G., & Hull, M. G. R. (1996). Stress and stress-related hormones during in-vitro fertilization treatment. Human Reproduction, 11, 274279.
Harold, G. T., Aitken, J. J., & Shelton, K. H. (2007). Interparental conflict and children's academic attainment: A longitudinal analysis. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 48, 12231232.
Harold, G. T., & Conger, R. D. (1997). Marital conflict and adolescent distress: The role of adolescent awareness. Child Development, 68, 333350.
Harold, G. T., Rice, F., Hay, D. F., Boivin, J., van den Bree, M., & Thapar, A. (2010). Familial transmission of depression and antisocial behavior symptoms: Disentangling the contribution of inherited and environmental factors and testing the mediation role of parenting. Psychological Medicine, 41, 111.
Harold, G. T., Shelton, K. H., Goeke-Morey, M. C., & Cummings, E. M. (2004). Marital conflict, child emotional security about family relationships, and child adjustment. Social Development, 13, 350376.
Hicks, B. M., Krueger, R. F., Iacono, W., McGue, M., & Patrick, C. J. (2004). Family transmission and heritability of externalizing disorders. Archives of General Psychiatry, 61, 922928.
Jaffee, S. R., Belsky, J., Harrington, H., Caspi, A., & Moffitt, T. E. (2006). When parents have a history of conduct disorder: How is the caregiving environment affected? Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 115, 309319.
Jaffee, S. R., & Price, T. S. (2007). Gene–environment correlations: A review of the evidence and implications for prevention of mental illness. Molecular Psychiatry, 12, 432442.
Kim, H. K., Capaldi, D. M., Pears, K. C., Kerr, D. C., & Owen, L. D. (2009). Intergenerational transmission of internalising and externalising behaviours across three generations: Gender-specific pathways. Criminal Behavior and Mental Health, 19, 125141.
Kim-Cohen, J., Caspi, A., Taylor, A., Williams, B., Newcombe, R., Craig, W., et al. (2006). MAOA, maltreatment, and gene–environment interaction predicting children's mental health: New evidence and a meta-analysis. Molecular Psychiatry, 11, 903913.
Lamb, M. E. (2004). The role of the father in child development (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Leve, L. D., Neiderhiser, J. M., Ge, X., Scaramella, L. V., Conger, R. D., Reid, J. B., et al. (2007). The Early Growth and Development Study: A prospective adoption design. Twin Research and Human Genetics, 10, 8495.
MacKinnon, D. P., Krull, J. L., & Lockwood, C. M. (2000). Equivalence of the mediation, confounding, and suppression effect. Prevention Science, 1, 173181.
MacKinnon, D. P., Lockwood, C. M., Hoffman, J. M., West, S. G., & Sheets, V. (2002). A comparison of methods to test the significance of the mediated effect. Psychological Methods, 7, 83104.
McMahon, C. A., Ungerer, J. A., Tennant, C., & Saunders, D. (1997). Psychosocial adjustment and the quality of the mother–child relationship at four months postpartum after conception by in vitro fertilization. Fertility and Sterility, 68, 492500.
Melby, J. N., Conger, R. D., Book, R., Rueter, M., Lucy, L., Repinski, D., et al. (1993). The Iowa Family Interaction Rating Scales (2nd ed.). Unpublished manuscript, Iowa State University Center for Family Research in Rural Mental Health.
Meyer, J. M., Rutter, M., Silberg, J. L., Maes, H. H., Simonoff, E., Shillady, L. L., et al. (2000). Familial aggregation for conduct disorder symptomatology: The role of genes, marital discord, and family adaptability. Psychological Medicine, 30, 759774.
Moffitt, T. E. (2005). The new look of behavioral genetics in developmental psychopathology: Gene–environment interplay in antisocial. Psychological Bulletin, 131, 533554.
Muthén, L., & Muthén, B. (2007). Mplus User's Guide (5th ed.). Los Angeles: Author.
Neiderhiser, J. M., Reiss, D., Pedersen, N. L., Lichtenstein, P., Spotts, E. L., Hansson, K., et al. (2004). Genetic and environmental influences on mothering of adolescents: A comparison of two samples. Developmental Psychology, 40, 335351.
Patterson, G. R. (1982). Coercive family process. Eugene, OR: Castalia.
Plomin, R. (1990). The role of inheritance in behavior. Science, 248, 183188.
Plomin, R., DeFries, J. C., & Loehlin, J. C. (1977). Genotype–environment interaction and correlation in the analysis of human behavior. Psychological Bulletin, 84, 309322.
Price, T. S., & Jaffee, S. R. (2008). Effects of the family environment: Gene–environment interaction and passive gene–environment correlation. Developmental Psychology, 44, 305315.
Ramchandani, P., & Psychogiou, L. (2009). Paternal psychiatric disorders and children's psychosocial development. Lancet, 374, 646653.
Raoul-Duval, A., Bertrand-Servais, M., Letur-Könirsch, H., & Frydman, R. (1994). Psychological follow-up of children born after in-vitro fertilization. Human Reproduction, 9, 10971101.
Rhoades, K. A., Leve, L. D., Harold, G. T., Neiderhiser, J. M., Shaw, D. S., & Reiss, D. (2011). Longitudinal pathways from marital hostility to child anger during toddlerhood: Genetic susceptibility and indirect effects via harsh parenting. Journal of Family Psychology, 25, 282291.
Rutter, M. (2006). Genes and behavior: Nature and nurture interplay explained. Oxford: Blackwell.
Rutter, M. (2007). Proceeding from observed correlation to causal inference: The use of natural experiments. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 2, 377395.
Rutter, M., Thapar, A., & Pickles, A. (2009). Gene–environment interactions: Biologically valid pathway or artifact? Archives of General Psychiatry, 66, 12871289.
Scarr, S., & McCartney, K. (1983). How people make their own environments: A theory of genotype greater than environment effects. Child Development, 54, 424435.
Shaw, D. S., Bell, R. Q., & Gilliom, M. (2000). A truly early starter model of antisocial behavior revisited. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 3, 155172.
Shaw, D. S., Gilliom, M., Ingoldsby, E. M., & Nagin, D. S. (2003). Trajectories leading to school-age conduct problems. Developmental Psychology, 39, 189200.
Shelton, K. H., Boivin, J., Hay, D., van den Bree, M. B. M., Rice, F. J., Harold, G. T., et al. (2009). Examining differences in psychological adjustment problems among children conceived by assisted reproductive technologies. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 33, 385392.
Shelton, K. H., & Harold, G. T. (2008). Interparental conflict, negative parenting, and children's adjustment: Bridging links between parent's depression and children's psychological distress. Journal of Family Psychology, 22, 712724.
Silberg, J. L., Maes, H., & Eaves, L. J. (2010). Genetic and environmental influences on the transmission of parental depression to children's depression and conduct disturbance: An extended Children of Twins study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 51, 734744.
Silberg, J. L., Maes, H., & Eaves, L. J. (2011). Unraveling the effect of genes and environment in the transmission of parental antisocial behavior to children's conduct disturbance, depression, and hyperactivity. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. Advance online publication. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2011.02494.x
Singh, A. L., D'Onofrio, B. M., Slutske, W. S., Turkheimer, E., Emery, R. E., Harden, K. P., et al. (2011). Parental depression and offspring psychopathology: A children of twins study. Psychological Medicine, 41, 13851395.
Sobel, M. E. (1982). Asymptotic confidence intervals for indirect effects in structural equation models. In Leinhardt, S. (Ed.), Sociological methodology (pp. 290312). Washington DC: American Sociological Association.
Stover, C. S., Connell, C., Leve, L. D., Neiderhiser, J. M., Shaw, D. S., Scaramella, L., et al. (2012). Fathering and mothering in the family system: Linking marital hostility and aggression in adopted toddlers. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 53, 401409.
Teti, D. M., & Gelfand, D. M. (1991). Behavioral competence among mothers of infants in the first year: The mediational role of maternal self-efficacy. Child Development, 62, 918929.
Thapar, A., Harold, G. T., Rice, F., Ge, X., Boivin, J., Hay, D. F., et al. (2007). Do intrauterine or genetic influences explain the foetal origins of chronic disease? A novel experimental method for disentangling effects. BMC Medical Research Methodology, 7, 18.
Tully, E. C., Iacono, W. G., & McGue, M. (2008). An adoption study of parental depression as an environmental liability for adolescent depression and childhood disruptive disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry, 165, 11481154.
Zigmond, A. S., & Snaith, R. P. (1983). The hospital anxiety and depression scale. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 67, 361370.

Interparental conflict, parent psychopathology, hostile parenting, and child antisocial behavior: Examining the role of maternal versus paternal influences using a novel genetically sensitive research design

  • Gordon T. Harold (a1), Kit K. Elam (a1), Gemma Lewis (a2), Frances Rice (a3) and Anita Thapar (a2)...

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed