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Children’s Temperament and Maternal Behavioral Control: Origins of Heterogeneity in Developmental Trajectories of Committed Compliance from Infancy to Age 3

Abstract

Temperament and parental control are two important factors that influence the early development of children’s committed compliance. However, there is a need to comprehensively depict the developmental profiles of committed compliance across the first 3 years and further examine the impacts of these two factors on the profiles. Thus, the current study examined how 92 participants (39 boys) differed in their trajectories of committed compliance throughout toddlerhood and how these individual variances were underpinning of their temperament fearfulness and distractibility in infancy and maternal behavioral control from infancy to toddlerhood. According to children’s committed compliance observed in the clean-up task from 14 to 38 months, three groups with different developmental trajectories were identified: the high-level group, the low-level group, and the developmental group. Compared with the high-level group, the mothers reported that the low-level group displayed higher distractibility and lower fearfulness at 6 months. Maternal behavioral control was coded from two 5-min mother-child free plays at each age of 10, 14, 25 and 38 months. Results indicated that though the initial level of committed compliance of the two groups were similar at 14 months, the developmental group mothers had a lower mean intercept of behavioral control than the low-level group mothers at 10 months. Moreover, the developmental group mothers tended to decrease their use of behavioral control more slowly than the high-level group mothers. Limitations and implication for future research were discussed.

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Acknowledgements

We thank the parents and children who participated in this study and the research staff who were responsible for conducting numerous assessments with these families.

Author Contributions

S.D.: designed the study, analyzed the data, and wrote the paper. Z.W.: collaborated in the data analyzing and writing of the manuscript. S.L.: collaborated in the editing of the manuscript. X.L.: collaborated in the editing of the manuscript. X.X.: collaborated in the editing of the manuscript.

Funding

This study was funded by the National Science Foundation of China (No. 31470994 and No. 31400894) and Beijing Social Science Fund (No. 15JYB016).

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Correspondence to Zhengyan Wang.

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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 Peking University First Hospital and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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

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Dong, S., Wang, Z., Lu, S. et al. Children’s Temperament and Maternal Behavioral Control: Origins of Heterogeneity in Developmental Trajectories of Committed Compliance from Infancy to Age 3. J Child Fam Stud 27, 2668–2677 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-018-1101-9

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-018-1101-9

Keywords

  • Committed compliance
  • Temperament
  • Parenting
  • Behavioral control
  • Latent class growth analysis