Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 28, Issue 12, pp 3467–3478 | Cite as

Examining Toddlers’ Problem Behaviors: The Role of SES, Parenting Stress, Perceived Support and Negative Intentionality

  • Gizem ArikanEmail author
  • Asiye Kumru
  • Beliz Korkut
  • Ali O. Ilhan
Original Paper



We aimed to explore profiles of mothers with respect to two key risk factors, SES and parenting stress, and then examine the role of maternal perceived social support and negative intentionality in toddlers’ internalizing and externalizing behaviors in these mother profiles.


A sample of 463 mothers with 1–3 years old non-clinical toddlers completed scales. First, in Latent Profile Analysis (LPA), we identified two distinct mother profiles, as high SES–low stress (low-risk) and low SES–high stress (high-risk) groups. Then, we tested the pattern of associations among maternal perceived social support, negative intentionality, and child internalizing and externalizing problem behaviors in a multi-group SEM analysis based on these two profiles.


There was a strong negative association between social support and both internalizing and externalizing behaviors in the low-risk profile mothers, but not in the high-risk profile mothers. Regardless of mothers’ profiles, the perceived negative intentionality in toddlers’ behaviors positively predicted both internalizing and externalizing behaviors. However, the perceived negative intentionality did not mediate the negative association between perceived social support and toddlers’ problem behaviors.


Our findings suggest that mothers’ negative attributions about child’s behaviors can play a critical role at the early stages of problem behaviors and social support can be an important factor to decrease the child’s externalizing problem behaviors especially for the low-risk group of mothers. Intervention programs should be designed with the differential contribution of social support and negative intentionality in the onset of toddlers’ problem behaviors.


Internalizing problem behaviors Externalizing problem behaviors Perceived social support Negative intentionality Parenting stress SES 


Author Contributions

G.A. designed, executed, conducted the analysis and wrote the paper. A.K. collaborated with the design, analysis and the writing. B.K. collaborated with the design and analysis, and the writing, and also collected data. A.O.I. collaborated in the data analysis and the writing up of the analysis.


This study was funded by The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK) Career Grant No: 114K813.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

The current research was approved by Ozyegin University ethics committee. All procedures in the study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all the participants.

Supplementary material

10826_2019_1529_MOESM1_ESM.docx (15 kb)
Supplementary Information.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gizem Arikan
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Asiye Kumru
    • 2
  • Beliz Korkut
    • 3
  • Ali O. Ilhan
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyOzyegin UniversityIstanbulTurkey
  2. 2.Ozyegin UniversityIstanbulTurkey
  3. 3.Istanbul Medeniyet UniversityIstanbulTurkey

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