Advertisement

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 693–703 | Cite as

Negative Relational Schemas Predict the Trajectory of Coercive Dynamics During Early Childhood

  • Justin D. Smith
  • Thomas J. Dishion
  • Daniel S. Shaw
  • Melvin N. Wilson
Article

Abstract

Coercive family processes are germane to the development of problem behaviors in early childhood, yet the cognitive and affective underpinnings are not well understood. We hypothesized that one antecedent of early coercive interactions is the caregiver’s implicit affective attitudes toward the child, which in this article are termed relational schemas. Relational schemas have previously been linked to coercion and problem behaviors, but there has yet to be an examination of the association between relational schemas and trajectories of coercion during early childhood. We examined 731 indigent caregiver-child dyads (49 % female children) from a randomized intervention trial of the Family Check-Up. Predominantly biological mothers participated. A speech sample was used to assess relational schemas at age 2. Coercive interactions were assessed observationally each year between ages 2 and 4. Caregiver and teacher reports of children’s oppositional and aggressive behaviors were collected at age 7.5 and 8.5. Path analysis revealed that negative relational schemas were associated with less steep declines in coercion during this period, which in turn were predictive of ratings of oppositional and aggressive behaviors at age 7.5/8.5 after controlling for baseline levels, positive relational schemas, child gender, ethnicity, and cumulative risk. Intervention condition assignment did not moderate this relationship, suggesting the results represent a naturally occurring process. Given the link between persistent early coercion and later deleterious outcomes, relational schemas that maintain and amplify coercive dynamics represent a potential target for early intervention programs designed to improve parent–child relationships.

Keywords

Affective attitudes Coercion Dynamic systems Relational schemas 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This research was supported by grant DA016110from the National Institute on Drug Abuse grant to Thomas Dishion, Daniel Shaw, and Melvin Wilson. Justin D. Smith received support from research training grant MH20012 from the National Institute of Mental Health, awarded to Elizabeth Stormshak, and from a seed grant from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Arizona State University, awarded to Thomas Dishion. The authors gratefully thank Cheryl Mikkola for editorial support, the observational coding team at the Child and Family Center, the rest of the Early Steps team in Eugene, Pittsburgh, and Charlottesville, and the families who have participated in the study.

Conflict of Interest

Drs. Smith, Dishion, Shaw, and Wilson report no financial interests or potential conflicts of interest.

References

  1. Achenbach, T. M., & Rescorla, L. A. (2001). Manual for the ASEBA school-age forms and profiles. U.S.A.: Library of Congress.Google Scholar
  2. American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision. Washington: Author.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Asarnow, J. R., Lewis, J. M., Doane, J. A., Goldstein, M. J., & Rodnick, E. H. (1982). Family interaction and the course of adolescent psychopathology: an analysis of adolescent and parent effects. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 10(3), 427–441.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J., van IJzendoorn, M. H., & Juffer, F. (2003). Less is more: meta-analyses of sensitivity and attachment interventions in early childhood. Psychological Bulletin, 129(2), 195–215. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.129.2.195.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Bargh, J. A., & Williams, E. L. (2006). The automaticity of social life. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 15(1), 1–4. doi: 10.1111/j.0963-7214.2006.00395.x.CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Bentler, P. M. (1990). Comparative fit indexes in structural models. Psychological Bulletin, 107(2), 238–246. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.107.2.238.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Bentler, P. M. (1992). On the fit of models to covariances and methodology to the bulletin. Psychological Bulletin, 112(3), 400–404. doi: 10.1037/0033-2909.112.3.400.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Bowlby, J. (1980). Attachment and loss: Vol. 3. Loss: Sadness and depression. New York: Basic.Google Scholar
  9. Browne, W. M., & Cudeck, R. (1993). Alternative ways of assessing model fit. In K. A. Bollen & J. S. Long (Eds.), Testing structural equation models. Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar
  10. Bugental, D. B., & Johnston, C. (2000). Parental and child cognitions in the context of the family. Annual Review of Psychology, 51, 315–344. doi: 10.1146/annurev.psych.51.1.315.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Bugental, D. B., Johnston, C., New, M., & Silvester, J. (1998). Measuring parental attributions: conceptual and methodological issues. Journal of Family Psychology, 12(4), 459–480. doi: 10.1037/0893-3200.12.4.459.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bugental, D. B., Ellerson, P. C., Lin, E. K., Rainey, B., Kokotovic, A., & O’Hara, N. (2002). A cognitive approach to child abuse prevention. Journal of Family Psychology, 16(3), 243–258. doi: 10.1037//0893-3200.16.3.243.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Bullock, B. M., & Dishion, T. J. (2004). Family Affective Attitude Rating Scale (FAARS). Available from C. Winter, Child and Family Center, 6217. Eugene: University of Oregon. e-mail: cwinter@uoregon.edu.Google Scholar
  14. Bullock, B. M., & Dishion, T. J. (2007). Family processes and adolescent problem behavior: integrating relationship narratives into understanding development and change. Journal of the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, 46(3), 396–407. doi: 10.1097/chi.0b013e31802d0b27.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Catania, A. C., Matthews, B. A., & Shimoff, E. (1982). Instructed versus shaped human verbal behavior: interaction with nonverbal responding. Journal of Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 38, 233–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cicchetti, D. V. (1993). Developmental psychopathology: reactions, reflections, projections. Developmental Review, 13(4), 471–502. doi: 10.1006/drev.1993.1021.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dishion, T. J. (2013). Stochastic agent-based modeling of influence and selection in adolescence: current status and future directions in understanding the dynamics of peer contagion. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 23(3), 596–603. doi: 10.1111/jora.12068.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dishion, T. J., & Granic, I. (2004). In E. M. Heiby & S. N. Haynes (Eds.), Comprehensive handbook of psychological assessment, Vol. 3: Behavioral assessment (pp. 143–161). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  19. Dishion, T. J., & Patterson, G. R. (2006). The development and ecology of antisocial behavior. In D. Cicchetti & D. J. Cohen (Eds.), Developmental psychopathology, Vol. 3: Risk, disorder, and adaptation (pp. 503–541). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  20. Dishion, T. J., & Stormshak, E. A. (2007). Intervening in children’s lives: An ecological, family-centered approach to mental health care. Washington: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Dishion, T. J., Kavanagh, K., Schneiger, A., Nelson, S. E., & Kaufman, N. (2002). Preventing early adolescent substance use: a family-centered strategy for public middle school. Prevention Science, 3(3), 191–201. doi: 10.1023/A:1019994500301.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Dishion, T. J., Shaw, D. S., Connell, A., Gardner, F. E. M., Weaver, C., & Wilson, M. (2008). The family check-up with high-risk indigent families: preventing problem behavior by increasing parents’ positive behavior support in early childhood. Child Development, 79(5), 1395–1414. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2008.01195.x.CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Dishion, T. J., Brennan, L. M., Shaw, D. S., McEachern, A. D., Wilson, M. N., & Jo, B. (2014). Prevention of problem behavior through annual family check-ups in early childhood: intervention effects from home to early elementary school. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 42(3), 343–354. doi: 10.1007/s10802-013-9768-2.CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Doane, J., Goldstein, M. J., Miklowitz, D. J., & Falloon, I. R. H. (1986). The impact of individual and family treatment on the affective climate of families of schizophrenics. British Journal of Psychiatry, 148, 279–287. doi: 10.1192/bjp.148.3.279.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Dunsmore, J. C., & Halberstadt, A. G. (2009). The dynamic cultural context of emotion socialization. In J. A. Mancini & K. A. Roberto (Eds.), Pathways of human development: Explorations of change. Lanham, MD: Lexington.Google Scholar
  26. Fonagy, P., & Target, M. (1997). Attachment and reflective function: their role in self-organization. Development and Psychopathology, 9(04), 679–700.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Forgatch, M. S., & Patterson, G. R. (2010). Parent management training-Oregon model: An intervention for antisocial behavior in children and adolescents. In J. R. Weisz & A. E. Kazdin (Eds.), Evidence-based psychotherapies for children and adolescents (pp. 159–178). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  28. Geller, J., & Johnston, C. (1995). Depressed mood and child conduct problems. Child Family Behavior Therapy, 17(2), 19–34. doi: 10.1300/J019v17n02_02.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Granic, I., & Patterson, G. R. (2006). Toward a comprehensive model of antisocial development: a dynamic systems approach. Psychological Review, 113(1), 101–131. doi: 10.1037/0033-295x.113.1.101.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Gray, S. A. O., Carter, A. S., Briggs-Gowan, M. J., Hill, C., Danis, B., Keenan, K., & Wakschlag, L. S. (2012). Preschool children’s observed disruptive behavior: variations across sex, interactional context, and disruptive psychopathology. Journal of Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology, 41(4), 499–507. doi: 10.1080/15374416.2012.675570.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hayes, S. C., Barnes-Holmes, D., & Roche, B. (Eds.). (2001). Relational frame theory: A post-Skinnerian account of human language and cognition (Vol. 28). New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.Google Scholar
  32. Hill, J. (2002). Biological, psychological and social processes in the conduct disorders. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 43, 133–164. doi: 10.1111/1469-7610.00007.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Hollenstein, T. (2012). State space grids: Depicting dynamics across development. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hu, L., & Bentler, P. M. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 6(1), 1–55. doi: 10.1080/10705519909540118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Juffer, F., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J., & van IJzendoorn, M. H. (2007). Promoting positive parenting: An attachment-based intervention. Boca Raton: CRC Press.Google Scholar
  36. Lewis, M. D., Lamey, A. V., & Douglas, L. (1999). A new dynamic systems method for the analysis of early socioemotional development. Developmental Science, 2(4), 457–475.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Little, R. J. A., & Rubin, D. B. (2002). Statistical analysis with missing data (2nd ed.). New York: Wiley.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. MacKinnon-Lewis, C., Lamb, M. E., Arbuckle, B., Baradaran, L. P., & Volling, B. L. (1992). The relationship between biased maternal and filial attributions and the aggressiveness of their interactions. Development and Psychopathology, 4(3), 403–415. doi: 10.1017/S0954579400000869.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. McFarlane, W. R. (2006). Family expressed emotion prior to onset of psychosis. In S. R. H. Beach, M. Z. Wamboldt, & N. J. Kaslow (Eds.), Relational processes and DSM-V: Neuroscience, assessment, prevention, and treatment (pp. 77–87). Washington: American Psychiatric Association.Google Scholar
  40. Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (2013). Mplus (Version 7.1). Los Angeles: Muthén & Muthén.Google Scholar
  41. Nix, R., Pinderhughes, E., Dodge, K. A., Bates, J. E., Pettit, G. S., & McFayden-Ketchum, S. (1999). The relation between mothers’ hostile attribution tendencies and children’s externalizing behavior problems: the mediating role of mothers’ hard discipline practices. Child Development, 70, 896–909. doi: 10.1111/1467-8624.00065.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Noldus Information Technology. (2012). The Observer XT reference manual 11.0. Wageningen: Author.Google Scholar
  43. Pasalich, D. S., Dadds, M. R., Hawes, D. J., & Brennan, J. (2011). Assessing relational schemas in parents of children with externalizing behavior disorders: reliability and validity of the family affective attitude rating scale. Psychiatry Research, 185, 438–443. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2010.07.034.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Patterson, G. R. (1982). Coercive family process. Eugene: Castalia.Google Scholar
  45. Patterson, G. R. (1997). Performance models for parenting: A social interactional perspective. In J. E. Grusec & L. Kuczynski (Eds.), Parenting and children’s internalization of values: A handbook of contemporary theory (pp. 193–226). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  46. Patterson, G. R. (2002). The early development of coercive family process. In J. B. Reid, G. R. Patterson, & J. Snyder (Eds.), Antisocial behavior in children and adolescents: A developmental analysis and model for intervention (pp. 25–44). Washington: American Psychological Association.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Patterson, G. R., Reid, J. B., & Dishion, T. J. (1992). Antisocial boys. Eugene: Castalia.Google Scholar
  48. Peterson, J., Winter, C., Jabson, J., & Dishion, T. J. (2008). The Relationship Affect Coding System. coding manual. Available from the Child and Family Center, 6217 (p. 97403). Eugene: University of Oregon.Google Scholar
  49. Radloff, L. S. (1977). The CES-D scale. Applied Psychological Measurement, 1(3), 385–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Sameroff, A. (2010). A unified theory of development: a dialectic integration of nature and nurture. Child Development, 81(1), 6–22. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01378.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. Scaramella, L. V., & Leve, L. D. (2004). Clarifying parent–child reciprocities during early childhood: the early childhood coercion model. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 7(2), 89–107. doi: 10.1023/B:CCFP.0000030287.13160.a3.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Shaw, D. S., Owens, E. B., Giovannelli, J., & Winslow, E. B. (2001). Infant and toddler pathways leading to early externalizing disorders. Journal of the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, 40(1), 36–43. doi: 10.1097/00004583-200101000-00014.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Shaw, D. S., Gilliom, M., Ingoldsby, E. M., & Nagin, D. S. (2003). Trajectories leading to school-age conduct problems. Developmental Psychology, 39(2), 189–200. doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.39.2.189.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Singer, J. D., & Willett, J. B. (2003). Applied longitudinal data analysis: Modeling change and event occurrence. New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Sitnick, S. L., Shaw, D. S., Gill, A., Dishion, T. J., Winter, C., Waller, R., & Wilson, M. N. (2014). Parenting and the family check-up: developments and changes in observed parent–child interaction during early childhood. Journal of Clinical Child Adolescent Psychology. doi: 10.1080/15374416.2014.940623.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. Smith, J. D., Dishion, T. J., Moore, K. J., Shaw, D. S., & Wilson, M. N. (2013). Video feedback in the family check-up: indirect effects on observed parent–child coercive interactions. Journal of Clinical Child Adolescent Psychology, 42(3), 405–417. doi: 10.1080/15374416.2013.777917.CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  57. Smith, J. D., Dishion, T. J., Shaw, D. S., Wilson, C., Winter, C., & Patterson, G. R. (2014). Coercive family process and early-onset conduct problems from age 2 to school entry. Development and Psychopathology. doi: 10.1017/S0954579414000169.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. Snyder, J. J., Edwards, P., McGraw, K., Kilgore, K., & Holton, A. (1994). Escalation and reinforcement in mother-child conflict: social processes associated with the development of physical aggression. Development and Psychopathology, 6(02), 305–321. doi: 10.1017/S0954579400004600.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Snyder, J. J., Cramer, A., Afrank, J., & Patterson, G. R. (2005). The contributions of ineffective discipline and parental hostile attributions of child misbehavior to the development of conduct problems at home and school. Developmental Psychology, 41(1), 30–41. doi: 10.1037/0012-1649.41.1.30.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. Steiger, J. H. (1990). Structural model evaluation and modification: an interval estimation approach. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 25, 173–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Strassberg, Z. (1995). Social information processing in compliance situations by mothers of behavior-problem boys. Child Development, 66(2), 376–389. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.1995.tb00877.x.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  62. Strassberg, Z. (1997). Levels of analysis in cognitive bases of maternal disciplinary dysfunction. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 25(3), 209–215. doi: 10.1023/A:1025795915802.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  63. Tremblay, R. E., Nagin, D. S., Séguin, J. R., Zoccolillo, M., Zelazo, P. D., Boivin, M., & Japel, C. (2004). Physical aggression during early childhood: trajectories and predictors. Pediatrics, 114(1), e43–e50. doi: 10.1542/peds.114.1.e43.CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  64. Trentacosta, C. J., Hyde, L. W., Shaw, D. S., Dishion, T. J., Gardner, F. E. M., & Wilson, M. N. (2008). The relations among cumulative risk, parenting, and behavior problems during early childhood. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 49(11), 1211–1219. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2008.01941.x.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  65. Waller, R., Gardner, F. E. M., Dishion, T. J., Shaw, D. S., & Wilson, M. N. (2012). Validity of a brief measure of parental affective attitudes in high-risk preschoolers. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 40(6), 945–955. doi: 10.1007/s10802-012-9621-z.CrossRefPubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Justin D. Smith
    • 1
    • 5
  • Thomas J. Dishion
    • 1
    • 2
  • Daniel S. Shaw
    • 3
  • Melvin N. Wilson
    • 4
  1. 1.Prevention Research CenterArizona State UniversityPhoenixUSA
  2. 2.Child and Family CenterUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA
  3. 3.University of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  4. 4.University of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA
  5. 5.Department of Psychology and NeuroscienceBaylor UniversityWacoUSA

Personalised recommendations