Published online by Cambridge University Press: 18 January 2022
Irritability, characterized by anger in response to frustration, is normative in childhood. While children typically show a decline in irritability from toddlerhood to school age, elevated irritability throughout childhood may predict later psychopathology. The current study (n = 78) examined associations between trajectories of irritability in early childhood (ages 2–7) and irritability in adolescence (age 12) and tested whether these associations are moderated by parenting behaviors. Results indicate that negative emotion socialization moderated trajectories of irritability – relative to children with low stable irritability, children who exhibited high stable irritability in early childhood and who had parents that exhibited greater negative emotion socialization behaviors had higher irritability in adolescence. Further, negative parental control behavior moderated trajectories of irritability – relative to children with low stable irritability, children who had high decreasing irritability in early childhood and who had parents who exhibited greater negative control behaviors had higher irritability in adolescence. In contrast, positive emotion socialization and control behaviors did not moderate the relations between early childhood irritability and later irritability in adolescence. These results suggest that both irritability in early childhood and negative parenting behaviors may jointly influence irritability in adolescence. The current study underscores the significance of negative parenting behaviors and could inform treatment.