Development of externalizing behaviors in the context of family and non-family relationships
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A longitudinal model was presented, that included reciprocal associations between physically harsh parenting by the mother, child externalizing problems, and support from the father, the extended family, and the neighbors. This transactional process was estimated for the years preceding school entry. The data were from a 4-years longitudinal and nationally representative study of 1009 children and their mothers in Turkey. The results indicated that concurrently, physically harsh parenting and child externalizing problems were strongly associated. Controlling for their within domain stability and cross-domain concurrent correlation, changes in harsh parenting and changes in child externalizing behaviors had significant reciprocal effects in early childhood, although these effects were small. These reciprocal effects were smaller for observer reported harsh parenting than maternal reports. There was a role of the mesosystem in this developmental process. Increases in the support from the father, and the extended family and the neighbors predicted declines in the child externalizing behaviors subsequently. Reciprocally, high child externalizing and maternal physically harsh parenting predicted subsequent declines in the support from these sources. These results were consistent with the hypotheses that negative mother–child relationships could spill over to the other relationships of the mothers, and that positive and supportive relationships of the mother could constitute positive role models for the child.