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Master of Science (M.S.)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
Preschoolers, Behavior Problems, Parents, Psychopathology, Development
This study investigated associations among different parental psychopathology dimensions and child functioning. Mothers and fathers of preschoolers with behavior problems (n = 132) completed psychopathology questionnaires when children were 3 years old. Children’s externalizing, internalizing, and social problems, academic achievement, and cognitive ability were assessed at annual home visits from age 3 to 6. In general, maternal psychopathology symptoms were associated with mothers’ reports of externalizing, internalizing, and social problems at age 3 and 6. Additionally, paternal psychopathology symptoms were associated with fathers’ reports of externalizing and internalizing problems at age 3 and 6. Mothers with more elevated psychopathology symptom dimensions had children with more mother-reported and father- reported externalizing and internalizing problems, and lower social competence at age 3 and age 6. Fathers with more elevated psychopathology symptom dimensions had children with more mother-reported internalizing problems at age 3 and 6. Only a few parental psychopathology dimensions (maternal ADHD and Cluster A symptoms, and paternal ADHD, depression, and antisocial symptoms) emerged as unique predictors of child functioning at age 3 and 6. These findings suggest that most types of mothers’ and fathers’ psychopathology may play a role in the behavioral, social, and emotional outcome of preschoolers with behavior problems.