Childhood Conduct Problems Are Associated with Increased Partnership and Parenting Difficulties in Adulthood

Abstract

This paper uses data from a sample of 337 parents studied at age 30 to examine the linkages between childhood conduct problems assessed at ages 7–9 and later partnership and parenting outcomes. The key findings of this study were: 1) increasing levels of childhood conduct problems were associated with increased risk of partnership difficulties, including relationship ambiguity, inter-partner conflict/violence and lower levels of relationship satisfaction; 2) increasing levels of childhood conduct problems were associated with increased risk of parenting difficulties, including over-reactivity, lax and inconsistent discipline, child physical punishment and lower levels of parental warmth and sensitivity. These findings were consistent across both parent reports and interviewer ratings, and in nearly all cases remained after extensive adjustment for confounding and selection bias. Study findings add to the growing body of evidence documenting the adverse consequences of early conduct problems for later adult interpersonal relationships and parenting behaviors.

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Acknowledgements

This research was funded by grants from the Health Research Council of New Zealand, the National Child Health Research Foundation, the Canterbury Medical Research Foundation, and the New Zealand Lottery Grants Board.

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Raudino, A., Woodward, L.J., Fergusson, D.M. et al. Childhood Conduct Problems Are Associated with Increased Partnership and Parenting Difficulties in Adulthood. J Abnorm Child Psychol 40, 251–263 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-011-9565-8

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Keywords

  • Conduct problems
  • Longitudinal development
  • Partnership
  • Parenting behaviors