Child internalizing symptoms: contributions of child temperament, maternal negative affect, and family functioning

Child Psychiatry Hum Dev. 2011 Feb;42(1):53-64. doi: 10.1007/s10578-010-0202-5.


Research has traditionally focused on the role of genetic and environmental variables in the development and maintenance of childhood internalizing disorders. Temperament variables, such as negative affect and effortful control have gained considerable interest within the field of developmental psychopathology. Environmental factors such as mother-child interactions and family cohesion have also been linked with internalizing disorders. The current study examines the relationship between child negative affect, effortful control, maternal negative affect, family functioning, and internalizing symptoms in a sample of preschool-aged children using a path analysis approach. Sixty-five children, aged 3-5 years and their mothers completed measures on child temperament, family environment, maternal personality, and child internalizing symptoms. Results support a complex model for the influence of both direct and indirect factors on internalizing symptoms in preschool-aged children.

MeSH terms

  • Child Behavior / psychology
  • Child Behavior Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Family / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control*
  • Male
  • Maternal Behavior / psychology*
  • Models, Psychological
  • Mother-Child Relations*
  • Personality Inventory
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Adjustment
  • Social Environment
  • Temperament*