The effect of father-toddler and mother-toddler role reversal on the development of behavior problems in kindergarten

Jenny Macfie, Renate M. Houts, Nancy L. McElwain, Mariha J. Cox

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)514-531
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Development
Volume14
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 31 2005

Keywords

  • Behavior problems
  • Development
  • Fathers
  • Role reversal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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