Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 2034–2045 | Cite as

Do Mothers and Fathers Moderate the Influence of Each Other’s Self-efficacy Beliefs and Parenting Behaviors on Children’s Externalizing Behavior?

  • Isabelle Roskam
  • Jean-Christophe Meunier
  • Marie Stievenart
Original Paper


The aim of the current study was to test first the validity of the social learning model, in which children’s externalizing behavior (EB) is considered to be related to problematic parenting, and second, whether and to what extent mothers and fathers moderate the influence of each other’s parenting on children’s EB. Two models were tested with a set of longitudinal prospective data collected from 419 mothers and 419 fathers. The first model tested the relations between parental self-efficacy beliefs at 4 years of age, parenting behaviors at age 5 and child’s EB at age 6. The second model tested the moderating effect of parenting behavior displayed by one parent on the way in which the other parent’s concurrent beliefs and subsequent behaviors impact on their child’s EB. The results mainly supported the first model, in particular the bidirectional relations between parents’ controlling behavior and children’s EB. The second model did not fit the data well. The existence of a moderating role of the other parent’s behavior was only demonstrated for the relation between mothers’ or fathers’ controlling behaviors and children’s EB. Very similar results were found for mothers and fathers. The results are discussed for their research and clinical implications.


Self-efficacy beliefs Parenting behaviors Externalizing behavior Social learning model Family system approach 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Isabelle Roskam
    • 1
  • Jean-Christophe Meunier
    • 1
  • Marie Stievenart
    • 2
  1. 1.Psychological Sciences Research InstituteUniversité Catholique de LouvainLouvain-La-NeuveBelgium
  2. 2.Faculté de psychologieUniversité de LiègeLiègeBelgium

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