Household chaos--links with parenting and child behaviour

J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2006 Nov;47(11):1116-22. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2006.01655.x.


Background: The study aimed to confirm previous findings showing links between household chaos and parenting in addition to examining whether household chaos was predictive of children's behaviour over and above parenting. In addition, we investigated whether household chaos acts as a moderator between parenting and children's behaviour.

Method: The sample consisted of 118 working- and middle-class two-parent English families with two children aged 4-8. Parents provided reports of the parent-child relationship, the level of chaos in their home and the children's problematic behaviour. The children also provided reports of parent-child relationships via a puppet interview.

Results: The results confirmed the links between household chaos and parenting, and indicated that household chaos is predictive of children's problem behaviour over and above parenting. In addition, in a minority of cases, household chaos played a moderating role between parenting and children's behaviour in that it exacerbated the effect of poorer quality parenting on children's behaviour.

Conclusions: Household chaos is able to work in an additive way and predict children's problem behaviour over and above parenting, and is particularly potent when in combination with less positive/more negative parenting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anger
  • Child
  • Child Behavior Disorders / diagnosis
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Crowding / psychology
  • England
  • Family Characteristics*
  • Female
  • Hostility
  • Humans
  • Interview, Psychological
  • Male
  • Maternal Behavior / psychology
  • Noise / adverse effects
  • Parent-Child Relations
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Paternal Behavior
  • Personality Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Siblings / psychology
  • Social Environment*
  • Statistics as Topic