Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 36, Issue 5, pp 679–692 | Cite as

Reciprocal Relationships Between Parenting Behavior and Disruptive Psychopathology from Childhood Through Adolescence

  • Jeffrey D. BurkeEmail author
  • Dustin A. Pardini
  • Rolf Loeber


Theoretical models suggest that child behaviors influence parenting behaviors, and specifically that unpleasant child behaviors coerce parents to discontinue engaging in appropriate discipline. This study examined reciprocal relationships between parenting behaviors (supervision, communication, involvement, timid discipline and harsh punishment) and child disruptive disorder symptoms (ADHD, ODD and CD) in a clinic-referred sample of 177 boys. Annual measures, including structured clinical interviews, were obtained from the beginning of the study (when boys were between the ages of 7 to 12) to age 17. Specific reciprocal influence was observed; only timid discipline predicted worsening behavior, namely ODD symptoms, and ODD symptoms predicted increases in timid discipline. Greater influence from child behaviors to parenting practices was found: ODD also predicted poorer communication and decreased involvement, and CD predicted poorer supervision. ADHD was neither predictive of, nor predicted by, parenting behaviors. The results are specifically supportive of a coercive process between child behaviors and parenting behaviors, and generally suggestive of greater influence of child behaviors on parenting behaviors than of parenting behaviors on child behaviors


Disruptive behavior Oppositional defiant disorder Conduct disorder Attention deficit hyperactivity Disorder Parenting behavior Coercion 



This study was supported by a grant (MH 42529) from the National Institute of Mental Health to Dr. Loeber.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jeffrey D. Burke
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dustin A. Pardini
    • 1
  • Rolf Loeber
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, Western Psychiatric Institute and ClinicUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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