The Contribution of Parenting Practices and Parent Emotion Factors in Children at Risk for Disruptive Behavior Disorders


The goal of this study was to examine the impact of different parenting characteristics on child disruptive behavior and emotional regulation among a sample of at-risk children. The sample consisted of 373 Australian 5- to 9-year-old children who were screened for serious behavior problems. Seven parenting variables based on self-report were evaluated, involving parenting practices, emotion beliefs and behaviors, emotion expressiveness, and mental health. Outcome variables based on parent/teacher report were child disruptive behavior problems and emotion regulatory ability. When entered simultaneously in a multiple regression analysis, inconsistent discipline, negative parental emotional expressiveness, and parent mental health demonstrated the strongest relationship to disruptive behavior problems and problems with emotion regulation. The data presented here elucidate multiple risk pathways to disruptive behavior disorders and can inform the design of prevention and early intervention programs.

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The authors wish to thank Robyn Stargatt, the Bendigo and Austin Health CASEA teams, and the parents, teachers, and children who participated in the study. This research was partly funded by Australian Rotary Health.

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Correspondence to Melissa E. Duncombe.

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Duncombe, M.E., Havighurst, S.S., Holland, K.A. et al. The Contribution of Parenting Practices and Parent Emotion Factors in Children at Risk for Disruptive Behavior Disorders. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev 43, 715–733 (2012).

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  • Disruptive behavior disorders
  • School children
  • Parenting
  • Emotion socialization
  • Emotional competence