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Title: Family processes and child mental health : unpacking nature from nurture
Author: Smith, Amelia Faye
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis aims to develop understanding of the relative role of mothers and fathers for children's psychopathology, with a primary focus on interparental conflict, maternal and paternal parenting, and the coparenting relationship. This is among the only research to use a multimethod, multi-informant, longitudinal adoption-at-birth design to assess these processes from early-to-middle childhood. The present thesis analyzed data from the Early Growth and Development Study (EGDS; Leve et al., 2007), a US-based study developed to assess family processes and children's development. The adoption-at-birth design allowed examination of environmental processes without the confound of common genes (Jaffee & Price, 2012). The present thesis examined N > 300 intact mothers and fathers and their children from 2.5 years to 6 years using observational and parent-reported data. Study 1 examined whether interparental conflict, maternal depression and paternal depression influenced child internalizing and externalizing problems via mother-child and father-child hostility. Study 2 examined the relative role of mother hostility, father hostility and coparenting as mediators in the relationship between interparental conflict and child internalizing and externalizing problems. Finally, study 3 examined whether distinct maternal and paternal parenting practices (hostility, harsh and inconsistent discipline, positive parenting) differentially mediated the relationship between interparental conflict and child internalizing and externalizing problems, and whether coparenting moderated these relationships. Each study also examined child-evoked effects on parenting and coparenting. Overall, findings showed interparental conflict to be important for child externalizing problems via father-child hostility, maternal and paternal parenting processes to be differentially related to child internalizing and externalizing problems, and early child behavior to evoke different parenting processes. Coparenting was not associated with parenting or child outcomes, nor did it moderate associations, highlighting the need for changes in conceptualization and measurement of the coparenting relationship. Findings are discussed with regards to policy and practice implications.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HQ0755 Parents. Parenthood Including parent and child, husbands, fathers, wives, mothers ; HQ0769 Child rearing ; RJ0499 Mental disorders of children and adolescents. Child psychiatry. Child mental health services