Parents, parenting and toddler adaptation: Evidence from a national longitudinal study of Australian children
Because infants and toddlers are particularly susceptible to parents' socialization efforts, the purpose of this 2-year longitudinal study (N = 4271 infants) was to forecast toddlers' competence and problems (adaptational outcomes, age M = 30 months) from parenting experiences when they were infants (age M = 9 months). Using structural equation modeling and data from a nationally representative sample, parenting during infancy was important to toddlers' adaptational outcomes, with parenting warmth most strongly connected to toddler competence and parenting hostility most strongly connected to toddler problems. Additionally, toddlers' outcomes were associated with their parents' mental health symptoms, life difficulty, coping and self-efficacy when measured 2 years earlier (parent context), and parenting warmth and hostility mediated some of these associations. These pathways indicated that the infant parenting context had some spill over effect on toddlers via parental warmth and hostility. However, mediational paths were not as common as expected, suggesting that the parent context had more direct than indirect effects on toddlers. Conclusions were similar even after accounting for infant temperament, family demographic characteristics and infant birthweight, with substantial reductions in effects only found for associations of parenting self-efficacy with toddlers' outcomes.
Infant Behavior and Development
Developmental Psychology and Ageing
Social and Community Psychology