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Effects on Behavioral Problems in Children of the Child's Temperament, the Mother's Emotional Characteristics, and the Child's Mental Representation of the Mother

  • THE KOREAN JOURNAL OF DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY
  • 2013, 26(1), pp.41-60
  • Publisher : The Korean Society For Developmental Psychology
  • Research Area : Social Science > Psychological Science

문보경 1 Lee Jung Sook 1

1한양대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study examines the mediating effects of the child's mental representation of the mother and the moderating effects of the mother's emotional characteristics on the relationship between the child’s temperament and behavioral problems in children. Participants were 862 elementary students (grades 1–3) and their mothers. All of the children completed a questionnaire assessing the mental representation of their mothers (NRI). In addition, the mothers completed a questionnaire about the child's temperament (K-JTCI), behavioral problems (K-CBCL), maternal maladaptive emotion regulation strategies (ERSQ), and empathy (PEI). Structural equation modeling showed that direct effects of the child’s temperament and the mother's emotional characteristics were significant. High scores for the child in novelty seeking and high scores for the mother on maladaptive emotion regulation strategies were positively associated with internalizing and externalizing problems. The child’s score on harm avoidance was positively associated with internalizing problems. There were gender differences in internalizing problems. The indirect effects of the child’s temperament and the mother's emotional characteristics were also significant. Novelty-seeking temperament in the child had positive effects on the externalizing problems through the child's negative mental representation of the mother. Maladaptive emotion regulation strategies and empathy in the mother had negative effects on externalizing problems through the child's positive mental representation of the mother. There were gender differences in the mental representation of the mother. The moderating effects of the mother’s emotional characteristics were significant. Children with high novelty-seeking scores showed more externalizing problems while children with high harm avoidance scores showed more internalizing problems when their mothers scored high on maladaptive emotion regulation strategies. With reference to these findings, the implications and limitations of this study were discussed.

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