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Dyadic parenting and children's externalizing symptoms

Karen B Meteyer, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This study explored dyadic parenting styles and their association with externalizing behavior symptoms among 79 working-class White families with children in first grade. Exploratory cluster analysis was used to create a typology of parenting at the dyadic level, reflecting the parental warmth, overreactivity and laxness of both mothers and fathers in two-parent families. Three distinct groups emerged: Positive Parenting, Inconsistent Parenting and Negative Parenting couples. Results indicated that dyadic parenting styles were related to teacher-reported externalizing symptoms for boys, but not for girls. Findings also revealed that the relationship between parenting styles and externalizing behavior depended on parent and child gender and also on parents' relative involvement. Overall results support the hypothesis that having one effective parent can "buffer" the impact of a less effective parent, and that having two negative parents was associated with the highest degree of behavior problems in children.

Subject Area

Social psychology|Clinical psychology|Individual & family studies

Recommended Citation

Meteyer, Karen B, "Dyadic parenting and children's externalizing symptoms" (2008). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3336924.