All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Christina M Rodriguez

Advisory Committee Members

Kristi C Guest

Maria I Hopkins

Robin G Lanzi

Suzanne E Perumean-Chaney

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2020

Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

Although a popular topic in developmental psychology research, straightforward ways to interpret measurements of infant temperament (IT) are lacking. Notably, parental personal characteristics, such as psychological distress and regulatory abilities, and resources available to parents may influence parents’ IT reports. The aims of the current project were to: 1) determine if parental characteristics mediate the association between IT and household income; 2) determine if personal resources available to parents (social support, coping, partner satisfaction) moderate the relationships between parental characteristics and IT; and 3) determine which parental characteristics predict differences between mothers’ and fathers’ IT reports. Prenatally, 201 mothers and 151 fathers self-reported psychological distress, substance use, expected stress from the parenting role, negative child attributions, frustration tolerance, and emotion regulation; when infants were 6 months, parents reported their social support satisfaction, engaged coping skills, and partner satisfaction as well as IT—namely, surgency, negative affect, and orienting/regulatory capacity. To address Aim 1, a dyadic path analysis using an actor-partner interdependence model, estimating indirect effects, was conducted. The dyadic path analysis revealed significant expectant parent direct effects on subsequent IT, including: maternal psychological distress, substance use, expected stress from the parenting role, negative child attributions, and emotion regulation; and paternal psychological distress. Additionally, a significant indirect maternal pathway was observed to IT through negative attributions. Significant partner effects were observed: paternal substance use predicted mother-reported infant surgency and orienting/regulatory capacity. To address Aim 2, moderation analyses for each resource for mothers and fathers, independently, were conducted. From these analyses, maternal social support satisfaction and partner satisfaction, and paternal coping skills and partner satisfaction significantly interacted with parental characteristics in their association with IT dimensions. Finally, addressing Aim 3 to examine parental characteristics predicting differences in parent IT reports, path analysis revealed significant direct effects of prenatal maternal psychological distress, substance use, and emotion regulation, and paternal emotion regulation in predicting differences in mother- and father-reported IT. The current study provides consistent evidence that personal characteristics of parents predict their IT reports, which has implications for the continued reliance on and interpretation of parent reports of IT.

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