Externalizing behaviors in preadolescents: familial risk to externalizing behaviors and perceived parenting styles

CJM Buschgens, MAG van Aken, SHN Swinkels, J Ormel, Frank Verhulst, JK Buitelaar

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The aim was to investigate the contribution of familial risk to externalizing behaviors (FR-EXT), perceived parenting styles, and their interactions to the prediction of externalizing behaviors in preadolescents. Participants were preadolescents aged 10-12 years who participated in TRAILS, a large prospective population-based cohort study in the Netherlands (N = 2,230). Regression analyses were used to determine the relative contribution of FR-EXT and perceived parenting styles to parent and teacher ratings of externalizing behaviors. FR-EXT was based on lifetime parental externalizing psychopathology and the different parenting styles (emotional warmth, rejection, and overprotection) were based on the child's perspective. We also investigated whether different dimensions of perceived parenting styles had different effects on subdomains of externalizing behavior. We found main effects for FR-EXT (vs. no FR-EXT), emotional warmth, rejection, and overprotection that were fairly consistent across rater and outcome measures. More specific, emotional warmth was the most consistent predictor of all outcome measures, and rejection was a stronger predictor of aggression and delinquency than of inattention. Interaction effects were found for FR-EXT and perceived parental rejection and overprotection; other interactions between FR-EXT and parenting styles were not significant. Correlations between FR-EXT and perceived parenting styles were absent or very low and were without clinical significance. Predominantly main effects of FR-EXT and perceived parenting styles independently contribute to externalizing behaviors in preadolescents, suggesting FR-EXT and parenting styles to be two separate areas of causality. The relative lack of gene-environment interactions may be due to the epidemiological nature of the study, the preadolescent age of the subjects, the measurement level of parenting and the measurement level of FR-EXT, which might be a consequence of both genetic and environmental factors.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)567-575
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Research programs

  • EMC NIHES-04-55-01

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