Rigidity in parent-child interactions and the development of externalizing and internalizing behavior in early childhood
SourceJournal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 32, 6, (2004), pp. 595-607
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI OGG
Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology
Behavioral rigidity is a common feature of many psychopathologies, yet the association between rigidity and the development of childhood psychopathology has not been studied. State space grids ( a dynamic systems [DS] method) were used to examine the relation between rigidity in parent-child interactions and childhood externalizing and internalizing problems. High-risk kindergarten children (n = 240) and their parents were observed for 2 hr engaging in a variety of tasks that were expected to elicit a range of affect. State space grid analysis of the observational data revealed an association between rigidity in parent-child interactions and child externalizing behavior problems in the fall and spring of kindergarten and 1st grade, and with growth in those problems over time. Rigidity was associated with concurrent levels and with chronic high-level internalizing problems. Strengths and limitations of the new DS methodology in relation to understanding child psychopathology are discussed.
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