Pathways to problem behaviors: Chaotic homes, parent and child effortful control, and parenting

Carlos Valiente, Kathryn Lemery, Mark Reiser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

185 Scopus citations


Guided by Belsky's and Eisenberg, Cumberland, and Spinrad's heuristic models, we tested a process model with hypothesized paths from parents' effortful control (EC) and family chaos to indices of parenting to children's EC, and finally children's externalizing problem behavior. Parents reported on all constructs and children (N = 188; M age = 9.55 years) reported on their EC and externalizing problem behaviors. Consistent with expectations, parents' EC promoted their positive (and inhibited negative) reactions to children's negative emotions. In addition, high levels of family chaos predicted low levels of parental positive reactions to children's emotion. Children's EC was predicted by high levels of positive reactions and low levels of negative reactions. As expected, children's externalizing problem behaviors were negatively related to their EC. Results clarify possible family processes by which children's EC is enhanced and problem behaviors are reduced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-267
Number of pages19
JournalSocial Development
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2007


  • Effortful control
  • Externalizing problem behavior
  • Parenting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Pathways to problem behaviors: Chaotic homes, parent and child effortful control, and parenting'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this