Skip to main content Accessibility help

Transactional relations between early child temperament, structured parenting, and child outcomes: A three-wave longitudinal study

  • Pan Liu (a1) (a2), Katie R. Kryski (a1), Heather J. Smith (a1), Marc F. Joanisse (a1) (a2) and Elizabeth P. Hayden (a1) (a2)...


While child self-regulation is shaped by the environment (e.g., the parents’ caregiving behaviors), children also play an active role in influencing the care they receive, indicating that children's individual differences should be integrated in models relating early care to children's development. We assessed 409 children's observed temperamental behavioral inhibition (BI), effortful control (EC), and the primary caregiver's parenting at child ages 3 and 5. Parents reported on child behavior problems at child ages 3, 5, and 8. Mediation analyses were conducted to examine relations between child temperament and parenting in predicting child problems. BI at age 3 was positively associated with structured parenting at age 5, which was negatively related to child internalizing and attention-academic problems at age 8. In contrast, parenting at child age 3 did not predict child BI or EC at age 5, nor did age 3 EC predict parenting at age 5. Findings indicate that child behavior may shape the development of caregiving and, in turn, long-term child adjustment, suggesting that studies of caregiving and child outcomes should consider the role of child temperament toward developing more informative models of child–environment interplay.


Corresponding author

Author for Correspondence: Pan Liu, Western Interdisciplinary Research Building, Room 2172, London, Ontario N6A 3K7, Canada; E-mail:


Hide All
Achenbach, T. M., & Rescorla, L. A. (2001). Manual for the ASEBA School-Age Forms & Profiles. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont, Research Center for Children, Youth, & Families.
Barber, B. K. (1996). Parental psychological control: Revisiting a neglected construct. Child Development, 67, 32963319.
Barkley, R. A. (1997). Behavioral inhibition, sustained attention, and executive functions: Constructing a unifying theory of ADHD. Psychological Bulletin, 121, 65.
Bell, R. Q. (1979). Parent, child, and reciprocal influences. American Psychologist, 34, 821826. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.34.10.821
Block, J. H. (1981). The ChiM-Rearing Practices Report (CRPR): A set of Q items for the description of parental socialization attitudes and values. Berkeley, CA: University of California, Institute of Human Development.
Bridgett, D. J., Gartstein, M. A., Putnam, S. P., McKay, T., Iddins, E., Robertson, C., … Rittmueller, A. (2009). Maternal and contextual influences on the effect of temperament development during infancy on parenting in toddlerhood. Infant Behavior and Development, 32, 103116. doi:10.1016/j.infbeh.2008.10.007
Buss, K. A., & Kiel, E. J. (2013). Temperamental risk factors for pediatric anxiety disorders. In Vasa, R. A. & Roy, A. K. (Eds.), Current clinical psychiatry. Pediatric anxiety disorders: A clinical guide (pp. 4768). Totowa, NJ: Humana Press.
Carver, C. S. (2005). Impulse and constraint: Perspectives from personality psychology, convergence with theory in other areas, and potential for integration. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 9, 312333.
Cicchetti, D., & Lynch, M. (1993). Toward an ecological/transactional model of community violence and child maltreatment: Consequences for children's development. Psychiatry, 56, 96118.
Cox, M., & Crnic, K. (2002). Qualitative ratings for parent-child interaction at 3–12 months of age. Unpublished manuscript, Department of Psychology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
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.
Deutz, M. H., Vossen, H. G., De Haan, A. D., Deković, M., Van Baar, A. L., & Prinzie, P. (2018). Normative development of the Child Behavior Checklist Dysregulation Profile from early childhood to adolescence: Associations with personality pathology. Development and Psychopathology, 30, 437447.
Dunn, L. M., & Dunn, L. M. (1997). Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (3rd ed.). Circle Pines, MN: American Guidance Service.
Edwards, S. L., Rapee, R. M., & Kennedy, S. (2010). Prediction of anxiety symptoms in preschool-aged children: Examination of maternal and paternal perspectives. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 51, 313321. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2009.02160.x
Egeland, B., Weinfield, N. S., Hiester, M., Lawrence, C., Pierce, S., Chippendale, K., & Powell, J. (1995). Teaching tasks administration and scoring manual. Unpublished manuscript, Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota.
Eisenberg, N., Sadovsky, A., Spinrad, T. L., Fabes, R. A., Losoya, S. H., Valiente, C., … Shepard, S. A. (2005). The relations of problem behavior status to children's negative emotionality, effortful control, and impulsivity: Concurrent relations and prediction of change. Developmental Psychology, 41, 193211.
Eisenberg, N., Valiente, C., Spinrad, T. L., Liew, J., Zhou, Q., Losoya, S. H., Reiser, M., … Cumberland, A. (2009). Longitudinal relations of children's effortful control, impulsivity, and negative emotionality to their externalizing, internalizing, and co-occurring behavior problems. Developmental Psychology, 45, 9881008.
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.
Fox, N. A., & Pine, D. S. (2012). Temperament and the emergence of anxiety disorders. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 51, 125128. doi:10.1016/j.jaac.2011.10.006
Goldsmith, H. H., Reilly, J., Lemery, K. S., Longley, S., & Prescott, A. (1995). Laboratory Temperament Assessment Battery: Preschool version. Unpublished manuscript.
Hastings, P. D., & Rubin, K. H. (1999). Predicting mothers’ beliefs about preschool-aged children's social behavior: Evidence for maternal attitudes moderating child effects. Child Development, 70, 722741.
Hayes, A. F. (2015). An index and test of linear moderated mediation. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 50, 122.
Hayes, A. F. (2017). Introduction to mediation, moderation, and conditional process analysis: A regression-based approach. New York: Guilford Press.
Hayes, A. F., Montoya, A. K., & Rockwood, N. J. (2017). The analysis of mechanisms and their contingencies: PROCESS versus structural equation modeling. Australasian Marketing Journal, 25, 7681.
Hinshaw, S. P. (2008). Developmental psychopathology as a scientific discipline: Relevance to behavioral and emotional disorders of childhood and adolescence. In Beauchaine, T. P. & Hinshaw, S. P. (Eds.), Child and adolescent psychopathology (pp. 326). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Ispa, J. M., Fine, M. A., Halgunseth, L. C., Harper, S., Robinson, J., Boyce, L., … Brady-Smith, C. (2004). Maternal intrusiveness, maternal warmth, and mother–toddler relationship outcomes: Variations across low-income ethnic and acculturation groups. Child Development, 75, 16131631. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2004.00806.x
Ivanova, M. Y., Achenbach, T. M., Dumenci, L., Rescorla, L. A., Almqvist, F., Bilenberg, N., … Chen, W. J. (2007). Testing the 8-syndrome structure of the Child Behavior Checklist in 3 societies. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 36, 405417.
Kagan, J. (2012). The biography of behavioral inhibition. In Zentner, M. & Shiner, R. L. (Eds.), Handbook of temperament (pp. 6982). New York: Guilford Press.
Kiel, E. J., & Buss, K. A. (2009). Maternal accuracy and behavior in anticipating children's responses to novelty: Relations to fearful temperament and implications for anxiety development. Social Development, 19, 304325. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9507.2009.00538.x
Kiel, E. J., & Buss, K. A. (2011). Prospective relations among fearful temperament, protective parenting, and social withdrawal: The role of maternal accuracy in a moderated mediation framework. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 39, 953966. doi:10.1007/s10802-011-9516-4
Kiff, C. J., Lengua, L. J., & Zalewski, M. (2011). Nature and nurturing: Parenting in the context of child temperament. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 14, 251301. doi:10.1007/s10567-011-0093-4
Knafo, A., & Jaffee, S. R. (2013). Gene–environment correlation in developmental psychopathology. Development and Psychopathology, 25, 16.
Kochanska, G., & Knaack, A. (2003). Effortful control as a personality characteristic of young children: Antecedents, correlates, and consequences. Journal of Personality, 71, 10871112. doi:10.1111/1467-6494.7106008
Kochanska, G., Murray, K., & Coy, K. C. (1997). Inhibitory control as a contributor to conscience in childhood: From toddler to early school age. Child Development, 68, 263277.
Kochanska, G., Murray, K. T., & Harlan, E. T. (2000). Effortful control in early childhood: Continuity and change, antecedents, and implications for social development. Developmental Psychology, 36, 220232. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.36.2.220
Kochanska, G., Murray, K., Jacques, T., Koenig, A. L., & Vandegeest, K. (1996). Inhibitory control in young children and its role in emerging internalization. Child Development, 67, 490507.
Konold, T. R., Walthall, J. C., & Pianta, R. C. (2004). The behavior of child behavior ratings: Measurement structure of the Child Behavior Checklist across time, informants, and child gender. Behavioral Disorders, 29, 372383.
Lecuyer, E., & Houck, G. M. (2006). Maternal limit-setting in toddlerhood: Socialization strategies for the development of self-regulation. Infant Mental Health Journal, 27, 344370.
Lengua, L. J. (2006). Growth in temperament and parenting as predictors of adjustment during children's transition to adolescence. Developmental Psychology, 42, 819832. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.42.5.819
Lengua, L. J., Honorado, E., & Bush, N. R. (2007). Contextual risk and parenting as predictors of effortful control and social competence in preschool children. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 28, 4055. doi:10.1016/j.appdev.2006.10.001
Lengua, L. J., & Kovacs, E. (2005). Bidirectional associations between temperament and parenting and the prediction of adjustment problems in middle childhood. Applied Developmental Psychology, 26, 2138. doi:10.1016/j.appdev.2004.10.001
Leve, L. D., Harold, G. T., Ge, X., Neiderhiser, J. M., Shaw, D., Scaramella, L. V., & Reiss, D. (2009). Structured parenting of toddlers at high versus low genetic risk: Two pathways to child problems. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 48, 11021109. doi:10.1097/CHI.0b013e3181b8bfc0
Little, R. J. (1988). A test of missing completely at random for multivariate data with missing values. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 83, 11981202. doi:10.2307/2290157
Lovejoy, M. C., Graczyk, P. A., O'Hare, E., & Neuman, G. (2000). Maternal depression and parenting behavior: A meta-analytic review. Clinical Psychology Review, 20, 561592. doi:10.1016/S0272-7358(98)00100-7
Morrell, J., & Murray, L. (2003). Parenting and the development of conduct disorder and hyperactive symptoms in childhood. Journal or Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 44, 489508. doi:10.1111/1469-7610.t01-1-00139
Murray, K. T., & Kochanska, G. (2002). Effortful control: Factor structure and relation to externalizing and internalizing behaviors. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 30, 503514.
Natsuaki, M. N., Leve, L. D., Harold, G. T., Neiderhiser, J. M., Shaw, D. S., Ganiban, J., … Reiss, D. (2013). Transactions between child social wariness and observed structured parenting: Evidence from a prospective adoption study. Child Development, 84, 17501765. doi:10.1111/cdev.12070
NICHD Early Child Care Research Network. (1997). The effects of infant child care on infant–mother attachment security: Results of the NICHD Study of Early Child Care. Child Development, 68, 860879. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.1997.tb01967.x
Nigg, J. T., & Goldsmith, H. H. (1998). Developmental psychopathology, personality, and temperament: Reflections on recent behavioral genetics research. Human Biology, 70, 387412.
Olson, S. L., Bates, J. E., & Bayles, K. (1990). Early antecedents of childhood impulsivity: The role of parent–child interaction, cognitive competence, and temperament. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 18, 317334. doi:10.1007/BF00916568
Patterson, G. R. (1982). Coercive family process. Eugene, OR: Castalia.
Pérez-Edgar, K. E. (2015). Effortful control in adolescence: Individual differences within a unique developmental window. In Oettingen, G. & Gollwitzer, P. M. (Eds.), Self-regulation in adolescence (pp. 78102). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Pérez-Edgar, K. E., & Guyer, A. E. (2014). Behavioral inhibition: Temperament or prodrome? Current Behavioral Neuroscience Reports, 1, 182190. doi:10.1007/s40473-014-0019-9
Pomerantz, E. M., & Eaton, M. M. (2001). Maternal intrusive support in the academic context: Transactional socialization processes. Developmental Psychology, 37, 174184.
Preacher, K. J., & Kelley, K. (2011). Effect size measures for mediation models: Quantitative strategies for communicating indirect effects. Psychological Methods, 16, 93. doi:10.1037/a0022658
Rathert, J., Fite, P. J., & Gaertner, A. E. (2011). Associations between effortful control, psychological control and proactive and reactive aggression. Child Psychiatry & Human Development, 42, 609.
Rothbart, M. K., & Bates, J. E. (2006). Temperament. In Eisenberg, N. & Damon, W. (Eds.), Handbook of child psychology: Vol. 3. Social, emotional, and personality development (6th ed., pp. 99166). New York: Wiley.
Rothbart, M. K., & Rueda, M. R. (2005). The development of effortful control. In Mayr, U., Awh, E., & Keele, S. (Eds.), Developing individuality in the human brain: A tribute to Michael I. Posner (pp. 167188). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Rubin, K. H., Burgess, K. B., & Hastings, P. D. (2002). Stability and social-behavioral consequences of toddlers’ inhibited temperament and parenting behaviors. Child Development, 73, 483495. doi:10.1111/1467-8624.00419
Rubin, K. H., Nelson, L. J., Hastings, P., & Asendorpf, J. (1999). The transaction between parents’ perceptions of their children's shyness and their parenting styles. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 23, 937957. doi:10.1080/016502599383612
Rutter, M. (1989). Pathways from childhood to adult life. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 30, 2351.
Sameroff, A. J. (Ed.) (2009). The transactional model of development: How children and contexts shape each other. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Smits, D. J., & Boeck, P. D. (2006). From BIS/BAS to the big five. European Journal of Personality, 20, 255270.
Spinrad, T. L., Eisenberg, N., Gaertner, B., Popp, T., Smith, C. L., Kupfer, A., … Hofer, C. (2007). Relations of maternal socialization and toddlers’ effortful control to children's adjustment and social competence. Developmental Psychology, 43, 11701186. doi:10.1037/0012-1649.43.5.1170
Spinrad, T. L., Eisenberg, N., Silva, K. M., Eggum, N. D., Reiser, M., Edwards, A., … Gaertner, B. M. (2012). Longitudinal relations among maternal behaviors, effortful control and young children's committed compliance. Developmental Psychology, 48, 552566. doi:10.1037/a0025898
Spokas, M., & Heimberg, R. G. (2009). Overprotective parenting, social anxiety, and external locus of control: Cross-sectional and longitudinal relationships. Cognitive Therapy and Research, 33, 543. doi:10.1007/s10608-008-9227-5
Tiberio, S. S., Capaldi, D. M., Kerr, D. C. R., Bertrand, M., Pears, K. C., & Owen, L. (2016). Parenting and the development of effortful control from early childhood to early adolescence: A transactional developmental model. Development and Psychopathology, 28, 837853. doi:10.1017/S0954579416000341
Ungar, M. (2009). Overprotective parenting: Helping parents provide children the right amount of risk and responsibility. American Journal of Family Therapy, 37, 258271. doi:10.1080/01926180802534247
van Buuren, S. V., & Groothuis-Oudshoorn, K. (2010). mice: Multivariate imputation by chained equations in R. Journal of Statistical Software, 45, 168. doi:10.18637/jss.v045.i03
Walker, O. L., Henderson, H. A., Degnan, K. A., Penela, E. C., & Fox, N. A. (2014). Associations between behavioral inhibition and children's social problem solving behavior during social exclusion. Social Development, 23, 487501.
Weinfield, N. S., Egeland, B., & Ogawa, J. R. (1998). Affective quality of mother-child interaction. In Zaslow, M. & Eldred, C. (Eds.), Parenting behavior in a sample of young mothers in poverty: Results of the New Chance Observational Study (pp. 71113). New York: Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation.
Wood, J. J. (2006). Parental intrusiveness and children's separation anxiety in a clinical sample. Child Psychiatry and Human Development, 37, 7387.



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