Emotional symptoms are one of the primary manifestations of child mental health problems. The current study investigated whether being exposed to maladaptive parenting (high hostility and low warmth) and/or marital conflict in infancy is associated with a significantly increased risk of having emotional symptoms in the early school years. Relevant data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC) were available for 3161 children (1621 boys) who had a median age of nine months (M age = 8.8 months, SD = 2.5 months) at wave 1 and a median age of 58 months (M = 57.5 months, SD = 2.8 months) at wave 3. Children who were exposed to maladaptive parenting and/or marital conflict at wave 1 were found to have a significantly increased risk of having emotional symptoms at wave 3. These findings indicate that by incorporating a focus earlier in children's development it should be possible to achieve better outcomes from programs that target parenting behaviours and family functioning.
|Journal||Australasian Journal of Early Childhood|
|Publication status||Published - 2014|