Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Bridgett, David J.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Parenting and early temperament characteristics have previously been shown to impact development of children’s self-regulation, which is in turn linked to a variety of developmental outcomes. However, few studies have evaluated interactions between difficult temperament and parenting, and only four published studies have specifically tested whether infants’ difficult temperament serves as a maker of differential susceptibility to parenting on self-regulatory development. The current study evaluated whether infant negative affectivity (NA) serves as a marker of differential susceptibility to positive and negative parenting on levels of effortful control (EC) at 18 months, which is at an earlier time point than has previously been tested. Using a sample of 179 mother-infant dyads, infant NA and parenting were evaluated when infants were 10 and 12 months, and EC was evaluated at 18 months using parent-report and observational measures. Results indicate that neither parenting nor infant NA have a significant direct impact on EC at 18 months, although a trend-level relationship between positive parenting and EC suggests that such relationships are emerging. None of the interactions between parenting and NA were found to support the differential susceptibility model, although a significant interaction between infant NA and intrusive, insensitive, and inconsistent parenting was found. However, this interaction suggests that infants low in NA benefit when exposed to intrusive, insensitive, and inconsistent parenting behaviors, which is inconsistent with the extant literature. Significant relationships were observed between covariates and EC such that having higher cumulative risk and being male were both negatively related to EC. It is likely that the lack of support for this study’s hypotheses is due to the early time point at which EC was measured in this study, and that these factors have not yet had sufficient time to impact the neural structures underlying EC. Limitations and future directions are discussed.


171 pages




Northern Illinois University

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