Do children fare for better and for worse? Associations among child features and parenting with child competence and symptoms

Jill Rabinowitz, Deborah A.G. Drabick

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

Children vary in their sensitivity to parenting practices, which may influence their competence and development of psychological symptoms. Three theoretical frameworks that address youth's sensitivity to parenting and potential outcomes include the diathesis-stress model, differential susceptibility hypothesis, and the vantage sensitivity hypothesis. The purpose of the present review is to examine the relations among child genetic, endophenotypic, and phenotypic attributes with parenting, and links to social and emotional adjustment and symptoms from infancy to young adulthood (18 years of age) that support the diathesis-stress model, differential susceptibility hypothesis, or vantage sensitivity hypothesis. We also examined whether (a) the assessment method (e.g., questionnaires, observations) and (b) developmental period (e.g., early childhood, adolescence) during which variables were assessed influenced support for the theoretical perspectives considered. Support was found for each framework but differed across studies. This inconsistent support may be because some child-specific features act as vulnerabilities, whereas others operate as plasticity factors; the parenting dimension under consideration may influence the adjustment of youth differently; or sex differences in child-specific features may differentially predict youth social and emotional competence or symptom development. Other potential explanations involve issues related to informants and contextual variations in children's behaviors, different analytic approaches, the assessment method, and developmental period of assessment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
JournalDevelopmental Review
Volume45
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Child-specific features
  • Diathesis-stress
  • Differential susceptibility
  • Externalizing symptoms
  • Internalizing symptoms
  • Parenting
  • Social and emotional competence
  • Vantage sensitivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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