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Aggression in toddlerhood: the roles of parental beliefs, parenting behavior and precursors of theory of mind

Van Adrichem, Dide S., Huljbregts, Stephan C. J., Van der Heijden, Kristiaan B., Van Goozen, Stephanie H. M. and Swaab, Hanna 2020. Aggression in toddlerhood: the roles of parental beliefs, parenting behavior and precursors of theory of mind. Social Development 29 (2) 10.1111/sode.12422

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Parental beliefs, parenting behavior, and precursors of theory of mind have been related uniquely to each other and to early aggression, but have not yet been studied simultaneously. The present study combined these risk factors in the prediction of aggression during toddlerhood using a sample of 152 mother–child dyads. At 20 months, mothers' parental beliefs (parental self‐efficacy and perceived parental impact) were examined with the Parental Cognitions and Conduct Toward the Infant Scale. Maternal parenting behavior (sensitivity, intrusiveness, and successful positive engagement) was observed during free play and teaching tasks, and children's precursors of theory of mind were assessed using a visual perspectives task and an imitation task. At 30 months, child aggression was examined using the Child Behavior Checklist. A regression analysis indicated that lower parental self‐efficacy and lower imitation skills predicted more aggressive behavior. When estimating the indirect effects using bootstrapping, a final model was found indicating that lower perceived parental impact was related to less successful positive engagement, which, in turn, was associated with children's poorer imitation abilities which predicted more aggressive behavior. It can be concluded that aggression during toddlerhood is predicted significantly by interrelated parental beliefs, parenting behavior, and children's early social cognitive abilities.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Additional Information: This article was (co-)authored by Cardiff NDAU researchers
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0961-205X
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 21 October 2019
Date of Acceptance: 16 October 2019
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2020 10:37

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