Reciprocal relations between the trajectories of mothers’ harsh discipline, responsiveness and aggression in early childhood
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Theoretical advances in the study of the development of aggressive behaviors indicate that parenting behaviors and child aggression mutually influence one another. This study contributes to the body of empirical research in this area by examining the development of child aggression, maternal responsiveness, and maternal harsh discipline, using 5-year longitudinal data from a nationally representative sample of Turkish children (n = 1009; 469 girls and 582 boys). Results indicated that: (i) maternal responsiveness and harsh discipline at age 3 were associated with the subsequent linear trajectory of aggression; (ii) reciprocally, aggressive behaviors at age 3 were associated with the subsequent linear trajectories of these two types of parenting behaviors; (iii) deviations from the linear trajectories of the child and mother behaviors tended to be short lived; and, (iv) the deviations of child behaviors from the linear trajectories were associated with the subsequent changes in mother behaviors after age 5. These findings are discussed in the cultural context of this study.