Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Shelleby, Elizabeth C.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


A growing body of research has evidenced bidirectional associations between parenting practices and the development of conduct problems in children. However, studies examining the effect of child callous-unemotional (CU) behavior in the context of these reciprocal associations have produced mixed findings. This study used data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (N= 4,898) to investigate bidirectional associations between parenting practices (i.e., positive and harsh) and child conduct problems across ages 3, 5, and 9 and determine if these associations are moderated by child CU behavior. Cross-lagged panel analyses revealed that higher positive parenting at age 5 was associated with lower conduct problems at age 9, whereas higher harsh parenting at age 5 was positively associated with year 9 conduct problems. Further, parents of children with higher levels of conduct problems demonstrated more harsh parenting behaviors in the home. In exploring the moderating role of CU behavior, results indicated a significant interaction between conduct problems and CU behavior at age 3 on positive parenting at age 5, such that the nature of this association differed based on the presence of higher or lower CU behavior. Implications of findings in terms of both research and intervention efforts are discussed with an emphasis on utilization of early intervention methods to target dysfunctional parent-child cyclical interactions that contribute to maladaptive parent and child outcomes.


105 pages




Northern Illinois University

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