Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 26, Issue 8, pp 2182–2190 | Cite as

Differential Effects of Mother’s and Father’s Parenting on Prosocial and Antisocial Behavior: Child Sex Moderating

  • Rosa Ruiz-Ortiz
  • Paloma Braza
  • Rosario Carreras
  • José M. Muñoz
Original Paper


The current study examined the differential effects of maternal and paternal parenting on prosocial and antisocial behavior during middle childhood, and the moderating role of child sex. Parents of 96 boys and 107 girls (mean age = 92.42 months, SD = 3.52) completed different questionnaires to assess parenting and child behavior. All participants were Caucasian from south of Spain. Multiple hierarchical regressions (enter method) were performed to determine significant predictors of prosocial and antisocial behavior. The results showed that maternal and paternal hostility predicted an increase of externalizing problems in boys and girls (p < .001 in both sex groups). As well, Warmth/Induction of both parents predicted an increase in adaptive skills in boys and girls (p < .001 in both sex groups). On the other hand, differential effects of fathers’ and mothers’ parenting were found: both for boys and girls, maternal inconsistency positively predicted externalizing problems and negatively adaptive skills (p < .001 in both sex groups) and paternal overprotection positively predicted externalizing problems and negatively adaptive skills (p < .05 in both sex groups). Finally, maternal coercion negatively predicted adaptive skills in boys and girls (p < .05 in both sex groups); however, it increased externalizing problems only in girls (p < .05), whereas maternal permissiveness only increased these problems in boys (p < .01 in both cases). The discussion highlighted the importance of considering both parents’ and children’s sex to further knowledge of parenting styles affecting children’s behaviors.


Parenting Mothers and fathers Prosocial and antisocial behaviors Middle childhood Child sex moderation 



The authors would like to thank the families and the educational community who took part in the study.


This study was funded by the Andalusian Research Plan (PAIDI-HUM-554) and the Research Plan of the University of Cadiz (E-11-2014-0387470-02). Rosa Ruiz-Ortiz has received research grants from University of Cadiz. Paloma Braza has received research grants from the Andalusian Research Plan (PAIDI-HUM-554).

Author Contributions

All authors designed this study, recruited and analyzed the data, and wrote the paper jointly.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Deparment of PsychologyUniversity of CadizCadizSpain

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