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Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 223–233 | Cite as

Inconsistent parenting: Is there evidence for a link with children's conduct problems?

  • Frances E. M. Gardner
Article

Abstract

Traditional interview studies of inconsistent parental discipline show a strong link with young children's conduct problems. Observational studies of inconsistency show weaker links with problem behavior and suffer from methodological problems. This study proposed a new observational definition of parental inconsistency, which analyzed whether mothers follow through their demands during sequences of mother-child conflict. A home observational study showed that mothers of conduct-problem preschoolers acted inconsistently during a greater proportion of conflict episodes than did their normal counterparts. There was a strong correlation between inconsistency and amount of family conflict. Inconsistency varied as a function of the context from which conflict arose. Results are discussed in terms of both coercion (Patterson, 1979) and predictability theories of problem behavior (Wahler & Dumas, 1986).

Keywords

Observational Study Conduct Problem Strong Link Weak Link Methodological Problem 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frances E. M. Gardner
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyInstitute of PsychiatryLondonEngland

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