Transactional associations between mother-child conflict and child externalising and internalising problems
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The purpose of the present study was to investigate the existing transactional associations between mother-child conflict and the child's internalising and externalising problems. To this end, longitudinal data were used, covering ages 7-15. The sample consisted of 1,136 mothers and their children who participated in the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development longitudinal study. The current analysis employs the Autoregressive Latent Trajectory (ALT) model that enables the simultaneous investigation of (1) the developmental stability, (2) the developmental change, (3) the longitudinal inter-relations, (4) the time-specific associations and (5) the directionality of the relations among the variables under examination. It was found that mother-child conflict increased across time and externalising problems decreased from childhood to adolescence, while internalising problems showed intra-individual stability. Further, mother-daughter conflict increased at a higher rate than mother-son conflict. The cross-lagged regressions suggested that the association between conflict and externalising problems is bi-directional from age 7 to age 9. However, a child effect was found from age 9 to age 15, in that the child's externalising problems continually influenced mother-child conflict but not the other way around. In contrast, the association between internalising problems and conflict was limited to cross-sectional and overtime associations suggesting that the association between internalising problems and conflict is mostly due to the co-variation between them. © 2013 © 2013 Taylor & Francis.