Objective: The present study examined the intergenerational risk of instrumental filial responsibility in the first generation on children’s externalizing behaviors in the next generation and examined difficult child temperament as a potential moderator of this association.
Background: Filial responsibility refers to children’s instrumental or emotional caregiving roles. Moderate levels of instrumental responsibility, such as age-appropriate responsibilities, may be normative whereas too much (parentification) or too little (infantilization) responsibility is associated with risk to development, parenting, and offspring development. Prior work has not isolated the unique effects of instrumental caregiving or identified the children most susceptible to intergenerational risk.
Method: A multisite, longitudinal design assessed a diverse sample of first-time mothers and their children. Data from the present study (N=374) were drawn from the third trimester of pregnancy and 12-month and 36-month assessments.
Results: The results support the curvilinear association between the maternal history of instrumental caregiving and offspring externalizing symptoms controlling for emotional caregiving. Difficult child temperament moderated the association.
Conclusion: Maternal instrumental caregiving history increases risk to children’s externalizing symptoms, particularly at high (parentification) and low (infantilization) levels of instrumental caregiving and when child temperament is easy rather than difficult.
Journal of Marriage and Family, 81(3), 648-661
Nuttall, A. & Zhang, Q. & Valentino, K. & Borkowski, J. (2019). Intergenerational Risk of Parentification and Infantilization to Externalizing Moderated by Child Temperament. <p>Journal of Marriage and Family, 81(3), 648-661</p>