, Volume 28, Issue 9-10, pp 569-582

Parental self-esteem and behavior problems in children: Similarities between mothers and fathers

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The relationship between parental self-esteem and behavior problems in children was investigated using 1624 married couple's responses from the National Survey of Families and Households. The sample was weighted to be nationally representative in terms of race and ethnicity. It was hypothesized that the existence of behavior problems among children would be associated with low self-esteem among parents and that the parent's gender, child's gender, parents' gender role attitudes, and parental employment would moderate this relationship. The results indicated that parental self-esteem is negatively associated with behavior problems in children. However, none of the moderating variables had a significant impact. This suggests that the relationship between parental self-esteem and behavior problems among children is robust and does not vary appreciably with the gender of the parent, the gender of the child, the attitudes of the parent, or the employment of the parent.

The National Survey of Families and Households was funded by a grant (HD21009) from the Center for Population Research of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The survey was designed and carried out at the Center for Demography and Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison under the direction of Larry Bumpass and James Sweet. The field work was done by the Institute for Survey Research at Temple University.