Within-Person Fluctuations in Maternal Sensitivity and Child Functioning: Moderation by Child Temperament

Xi Chen, Nancy L. McElwain, Daniel Berry, Helen T. Emery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We examined implications of within-person fluctuations in maternal sensitivity on child behaviors during mother- child interaction and assessed child temperament as a moderator. Mother-toddler dyads (N = 64, Mage = 27.20 months, SDage = 5.18) were observed interacting in a series of tasks over the course of a 1-hr laboratory visit, and maternal and child behaviors were rated in 60-s intervals. Parents also reported on child temperamental pleasure and anger proneness. Above and beyond between-person associations and controlling for systematic changes across tasks, associations between fluctuations in maternal sensitivity and child behaviors emerged and were moderated by child temperament. Specifically, temperamental pleasure buffered momentary decreases in maternal sensitivity. For children low (vs. high) on temperamental pleasure, decreases in maternal sensitivity in a given 60-s interval were more strongly associated with decreases in child attention to task, decreases in positive engagement with mother, and increases in child negative affect in the same interval. Additionally, for children with high (vs. low) on anger proneness, increases in maternal sensitivity in a given 60-s interval were more strongly associated with increases in child positive engagement and decreases in negative affect, and these interaction patterns provided partially support for anger proneness as a differential susceptibility factor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2019

Keywords

  • Anger proneness
  • Maternal sensitivity
  • Temperamental pleasure
  • Toddler
  • Within-person fluctuations

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Within-Person Fluctuations in Maternal Sensitivity and Child Functioning: Moderation by Child Temperament'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this