Temperament variation in sensitivity to parenting: predicting changes in depression and anxiety

J Abnorm Child Psychol. 2011 Nov;39(8):1199-212. doi: 10.1007/s10802-011-9539-x.


Temperament was examined as a moderator of maternal parenting behaviors, including warmth, negativity, autonomy granting, and guidance. Observations of parenting and questionnaire measures of temperament and adjustment were obtained from a community sample (N = 214; ages 8-12). Trajectories of depression and anxiety were assessed across 3 years. The pattern of parenting as a predictor of internalizing symptoms depended on temperament. Maternal negativity predicted increases in depression for children low in fear. Effortful control moderated sensitivity to maternal negativity, autonomy granting, and guidance. Children low in effortful control reported more symptoms in the presence of negative or poor-fitting parenting. The results support differential responding, but also suggest that temperament may render children vulnerable for the development of problems regardless of parenting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Anxiety / etiology*
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Child
  • Depression / etiology*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Psychological Tests
  • Risk Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Temperament*