Role reversal is a relationship disturbance in which a parent looks to a child to meet a parent's need for comfort, parenting, intimacy or play, and the child attempts to meet these needs. The current study examined, within a developmental psychopathology framework, the effect of father and mother role reversal with toddlers on the development of attention problems, externalizing symptoms, internalizing symptoms, and social problems in kindergarten. In a normative sample, N = 57, role reversal was assessed in an observational paradigm, and teachers rated behavior problems. Father role reversal predicted attention problems and externalizing symptoms, whereas mother role reversal predicted social problems. Gender was an important moderator such that father role reversal predicted social problems for boys and mother role reversal predicted social problems for girls. The importance of a developmental psychopathology perspective, the role of fathers, and implications for the development of diagnosable disorders and for preventive interventions are discussed.
- Behavior problems
- Role reversal
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)