Child Psychiatry and Human Development

, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 369–379 | Cite as

Temperament Influences on Parenting and Child Psychopathology: Socio-economic Disadvantage as Moderator

  • Eirini Flouri
Original Paper


Despite calls for research on how the socio-economic environment may be related to temperament, we still do not know enough about the relationship between temperament and socio-economic disadvantage (SED). A particularly under-researched question in temperament research is how SED may moderate the temperament–parenting and the temperament–child psychopathology links. The article argues that, to develop theory, future temperament studies should seek to explore how the timing, specificity or accumulation, level and duration, and change of SED may be related not only to temperament but also to links between temperament and parenting and between temperament and child psychopathology.


Child psychopathology Parenting Socio-economic disadvantage Socio-economic status Temperament 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.



The article was written while on support from a grant from the British Academy to investigate the role of contextual risk in child psychopathology. The author is also grateful to two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions.


  1. 1.
    Rothbart MK (1989) Temperament in childhood: a framework. In: Kohnstamm GA, Bates JE, Rothbart MK (eds) Temperament in childhood. Wiley, Chichester, pp 59–5Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Rothbart MK, Derryberry D (1981) Development of individual differences in temperament. In: Lamb ME, Brown AL (eds) Advances in developmental psychology, vol 1. Lawrence Erlbaum, Hillsdale, pp 37–6Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Kagan J (2003) Biology, context, and developmental inquiry. Annu Rev Psychol 54:1–3CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Thomas A, Chess S, Birch HG, Hertzig ME, Korn S (1963) Behavioural individuality in early childhood. New York University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Buss AH, Plomin R (1975) A temperament theory of personality development. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Prior M (1992) Childhood temperament. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 33:249–79CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Caspi A (1998) Personality development across the life course. In: Damon W (ser ed), Eisenberg N (vol ed) Handbook of child psychology, vol 3, Social, emotional, and personality development. Wiley, New York, pp 311–88Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Rothbart MK, Bates JE (1998) Temperament. In: Damon W (ser ed), Eisenberg N (vol ed) Handbook of child psychology, vol 3, Social, emotional, and personality development. Wiley, New York, pp 105–76Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Rubin KH (1998) Social and emotional development from a cultural perspective. Dev Psychol 34: 611–15CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Sameroff AJ, Seifer R, Elias PK (1982) Socio-cultural variability in infant temperament ratings. Child Dev 53:164–73CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Degnan KA, Fox NA (2007) Behavioral inhibition and anxiety disorders: multiple levels of a resilience process. Dev Psychopathol 19:729–46CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Lahey BB (2004) Commentary: role of temperament in developmental models of psychopathology. J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol 33:88–3CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Nigg JT (2006) Temperament and developmental psychopathology. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 47: 395–22CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Compas BE, Connor-Smith J, Jaser SS (2004) Temperament, stress reactivity, and coping: implications for depression in childhood and adolescence. J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol 33:21–1CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Eisenberg N, Cumberland A, Spinrad TL, Fabes RA, Shepard SA, Reiser M, Murphy BC, Losoya SH, Guthrie IK (2001) The relations of regulation and emotionality to children’s externalizing and internalizing problem behavior. Child Dev 72:1112–134CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Diener E (1998) Subjective well-being and personality. In: Barone DF, Hersen M (eds) Advanced personality. Plenum, New York, pp 311–34Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Keenan K, Shaw D, Delliquadri E, Giovannelli J, Walsh B (1998) Evidence for the continuity of early problem behaviors: application of a developmental model. J Abnorm Child Psychol 26:441–52CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Prior M, Smart D, Sanson A, Oberklaid F (2000) Does shy-inhibited temperament in childhood lead to anxiety problems in adolescence? J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 39:461–68CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Locke LM, Prinz RJ (2002). Measurement of parental discipline and nurturance. Clin Psychol Rev 22:895–29CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Bates J, Pettit G, Dodge KA, Ridge B (1998) Interaction of temperamental resistance to control and restrictive parenting in the development of externalizing behavior. Dev Psychol 34:982–95CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    McLeod JD, Shanahan MJ (1996) Trajectories of poverty and children’s mental health. J Health Soc Behav 37:207–20CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Collins WA, Maccoby EE, Steinberg L, Hetherington EM, Bornstein MH (2000) Contemporary research on parenting: the case for nature and nurture. Am Psychol 55:218–32CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    O’Connor TG (2002) Annotation: the ‘effects’ of parenting reconsidered: findings, challenges, and applications. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 43:555–72CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Eisenberg N, Guthrie IK, Fabes RA, Sheppard S, Loyosa S, Murphy BC, Jones S, Poulin R, Reiser M (2000) Prediction of elementary school children’s externalizing problem behaviors from attentional and behavioral self regulation and negative emotionality. Child Dev 71:1367–382CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Eisenberg N, Fabes RA (1992) Emotion, regulation, and the development of social competence. In: Clarke MS (eds) Review of personality and social psychology, vol 14, Emotion and social behaviour. Sage, Newbury Park, pp 119–50Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Maziade M, Caron C, Cote R, Merette C, Bernier H, Laplante B, Boutin P, Thivierge J (1990) Psychiatric status of adolescents who had extreme temperaments at age seven. Am J Psychiatry 147:1531–536PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Morris AS, Silk JS, Steinberg L, Sessa FM, Avenevoli S, Essex MJ (2002) Temperamental vulnerability and negative parenting as interacting predictors of child adjustment. J Marriage Fam 64:461–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Oldehinkel AJ, Veenstra R, Ormel J, de Winter AF, Verhulst FC (2006) Temperament, parenting, and depressive symptoms in a population sample of preadolescents. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 47:684–95CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Rubin KH, Burgess KB, Hastings PD (2002) Stability and social-behavioral consequences of toddlers’ inhibited temperament and parenting behaviors. Child Dev 73:483–95CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    van Leeuwen KG, Mervielde I, Braet C, Bosmans G (2004). Child personality and parental behavior as moderators of problem behavior: variable- and person-centered approaches. Dev Psychol 40:1028–046CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Wootton JM, Frick PJ, Shelton KK, Silverthorn P (1997) Ineffective parenting and childhood conduct problems: the moderating role of callous-unemotional traits. J Consult Clin Psychol 65:301–08CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Rothbart MK, Posner MI, Hershey KL (1995) Temperament, attention, and developmental psychopathology. In: Cicchetti D, Cohen DJ (eds) Manual of developmental psychopathology, vol 1. Wiley, New York, pp 315–40Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Bates J, Pettit G, Dodge K (1995) Family and child factors in stability and change in children’s aggressiveness in elementary school. In: McCord J (ed) Coercion and punishment in long-term perspectives. Cambridge University Press, New York, pp 124–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Kochanska G (1995) Children’s temperament, mothers’ discipline, and the security of attachment: multiple pathways to emerging internalization. Child Dev 66:597–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Kochanska G (1997) Multiple pathways to conscience for children with different temperaments: from toddlerhood to age 5. Dev Psychol 33:228–40CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Lengua LJ, Wolchik SA, Sandler IN, West SG (2000) The additive and interactive effects of parenting and temperament in predicting adjustment problems of children of divorce. J Abnorm Child Psychol 29:232–44Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Sanson A, Hemphill SA, Smart D (2004). Connections between temperament and social development: a review. Soc Dev 13:142–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Fullard W, Simeonsson RJ, Huntington GS (1989) Sociocultural factors and temperament. In: Kohnstamm G, Bates J, Rothbart M (eds) Temperament in childhood. Wiley, New York, pp 523–36Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Hirshfeld-Becker DR, Biederman J, Faraone SV (2004) Lack of association between behavioral inhibition and psychosocial adversity factors in children at risk for anxiety disorders. Am J Psychiatry 161:547–55CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Wachs TD (1988) Relevance of physical environmental influences for toddler temperament. Infant Behav Dev 11:431–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Klebanov PK, Brooks-Gunn J, Duncan GJ (1994) Does neighborhood and family poverty affect mothers’ parenting, mental health, and social support? J Marriage Fam 56:441–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Braveman PA, Cubbin C, Egerter S, Chideya S, Marchi KS, Metzler M, Posner S (2005) Socioeconomic status in health research: one size does not fit all. JAMA 294:2879–888CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Duncan GJ, Brooks-Gunn J, Klebanov PK (1994) Economic deprivation and early childhood development. Child Dev 65:296–18CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Williams RB (2003) Invited commentary: socioeconomic status, hostility, and health behaviors: does it matter which comes first? Am J Epidemiol 158:743–46CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Ackerman BP, Brown ED, Izard CE (2004) The relations between persistent poverty and contextual risk and children’s behavior in elementary school. Dev Psychol 40:367–77CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    McLoyd VC (1998) Socioeconomic disadvantage and child development. Am Psychol 53:185–04CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Duncan GJ, Yeung WJ, Brooks-Gunn J, Smith JR (1998) How much does childhood poverty affect the life chances of children? Am Sociol Rev 63:406–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Schoon I, Bynner J, Joshi H, Parsons S, Wiggins RD, Sacker A (2002) The influence of context, timing, and duration of risk experiences for the passage from childhood to midadulthood. Child Dev 73:1486–504CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Hollingshead A (1975) Four factor index of social status. Department of Sociology, Yale University, New HavenGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Bartley M, Power C, Blane D, Davey Smith G, Shipley M (1994) Birth weight and later socioeconomic disadvantage: evidence from the 1958 British cohort study. BMJ 309:1475–478PubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Geyer S, Hemström ö, Peter R, Vågerö D (2006) Education, income, and occupational class cannot be used interchangeably in social epidemiology: empirical evidence against a common practice. J Epidemiol Community Health 60:804–10CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Goodman E (1999) The role of socioeconomic status gradients in explaining differences in US adolescents’ health. Am J Public Health 89:1522–528CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Goodman E, Slap GB, Huang B (2003) The public health impact of socioeconomic status on adolescent depression and obesity. Am J Public Health 93:1844–850CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Costello EJ, Compton SN, Keeler G, Angold A (2003) Relationships between poverty and psychopathology: a natural experiment. JAMA 290:2023–029CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    McGauhey PJ, Starfield B (1993) Child health and the social environment of white and black children. Soc Sci Med 36:867–74CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Wardle J, Robb K, Johnson F (2002) Assessing socioeconomic status in adolescents: the validity of a home affluence scale. J Epidemiol Community Health 56:595–99CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Bradshaw J, Finch N (2003) Overlaps in dimensions of poverty. J Soc Policy 32:513–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Pringle DG, Walsh J (1999) Poor people, poor places: an introduction. In: Pringle DG, Walsh J, Hennessey M (eds) Poor people, poor places: a geography of poverty and deprivation in Ireland. Oak Tree Press, DublinGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Ispa JM, Fine MA, Halgunseth LC, Harper S, Robinson J, Boyce L, Brooks-Gunn J, Brady-Smith C (2004) Maternal intrusiveness, maternal warmth, and mother-toddler relationship outcomes: variations across low-income ethnic and acculturation groups. Child Dev 75:1613–631CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    Jenkins JM, Rasbash J, O’Connor TG (2003) The role of the shared family context in differential parenting. Dev Psychol 39:99–13CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    Campbell SB, Pierce EW, Moore G, Marakovitz S, Newby K (1996) Boys’ externalizing problems at elementary school age: pathways from early behavior problems, maternal control, and family stress. Dev Psychopathol 8:701–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. 62.
    Lahey BB, Loeber R, Burke J, Rathouz PJ (2002) Adolescent outcomes of childhood conduct disorder among clinic-referred boys: predictors of improvement. J Abnorm Child Psychol 30:333–48CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  63. 63.
    Currie J, Hyson R (1999) Is the impact of health shocks cushioned by socioeconomic status? The case of low birthweight. Am Econ Rev 89:245–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. 64.
    Farrington DP (1991) Childhood aggression and adult violence: early precursors and later-life outcomes. In: Pepler DJ, Rubin KH (eds) The development and treatment of childhood aggression. Lawrence Erlbaum, Hilsdale, pp 5–9Google Scholar
  65. 65.
    Loeber R, Green SM, Keenan K, Lahey BB (1995) Which boys will fare worse: early predictors of the onset of conduct disorder in a 6-year longitudinal study. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 34: 499–09PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. 66.
    Nagin D, Tremblay R (2001) Parental and early childhood predictors of persistent physical aggression in boys from kindergarten to high school. Arch Gen Psychiatry 58:389–94CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  67. 67.
    Stattin H, Trost K (2000) When do preschool conduct problems link to future social adjustment problems and when do they not? In: Bergman LR, Calms RR, Nilsson LG, Nystedt L (eds) Developmental science and the holistic approach. Lawrence Erlbaum, Mahwah, pp 349–75Google Scholar
  68. 68.
    Feehan M, McGee R, Williams SM (1993) Mental health disorders from age 15 to age 18 years. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 32:1118–126CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  69. 69.
    Rao U, Ryan ND, Birmaher B, Dahl RE, Williamson DE, Kaufman J, Rao R, Nelson B (1995) Unipolar depression in adolescents: clinical outcome in adulthood. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry 34: 566–78CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  70. 70.
    Legrand LN, Keyes M, McGue M, Iacono WG, Krueger RF (in press) Rural environments reduce the genetic influence on adolescent substance use and rule-breaking behaviour. Psychol Med Google Scholar
  71. 71.
    Turkheimer E, Haley A, Waldron M, D’Onofrio B, Gottesman II (2003) Socioeconomic status modifies heritability of IQ in young children. Psychol Sci 14:623–28CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  72. 72.
    Rowe DC, Jacobson KC, van den Oord EJCG (1999) Genetic and environmental influences on vocabulary IQ: parental education level as moderator. Child Dev 70:1151–162CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  73. 73.
    Turkheimer E, Waldron MC (2000) Nonshared environment: a theoretical, methodological and quantitative review. Psychol Bull 126:78–08CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  74. 74.
    Tuvblad C, Grann M, Lichtenstein P (2006) Heritability for adolescent antisocial behavior differs with socioeconomic status: gene-environment interaction. J Child Psychol Psychiatry 47:734–43CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  75. 75.
    Bronfenbrenner U, Ceci SJ (1994) Nature–nurture reconceptualized in developmental perspective: a bioecological model. Psychol Rev 101:568–86CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  76. 76.
    Petras H, Schaeffer CM, Ialongo N, Hubbard S, Muthen B, Lambert SF, Poduska J, Kellam S (2004) When the course of aggressive behavior in childhood does not predict antisocial outcomes in adolescence and young adulthood: an examination of potential explanatory variables. Dev Psychopathol 16:919–41CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  77. 77.
    Leventhal T, Brooks-Gunn J (2000) The neighborhoods they live in: the effects of neighborhood residence on child and adolescent outcomes. Psychol Bull 126:309–37CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  78. 78.
    Xue YG, Leventhal T, Brooks-Gunn J, Earls FJ (2005) Neighborhood residence and mental health problems of 5-to 11-year-olds. Arch Gen Psychiatry 62:554–63CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  79. 79.
    McCulloch A (2006) Variation in children’s cognitive and behavioural adjustment between different types of place in the British national child development study. Soc Sci Med 62:1865–879CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  80. 80.
    Snyder J, Stoolmiller M, Wilson M, Yamamoto M (2003). Child anger regulation, parental responses to children’s anger displays, and early child antisocial behavior. Soc Dev 12:335–60Google Scholar
  81. 81.
    Bornstein MH, Bradley RH (2003) Socioeconomic status, parenting, and child development. Lawrence Erlbaum, MahwahGoogle Scholar
  82. 82.
    Adler NE, Boyce T, Chesney MA, Cohen S (1994) Socioeconomic status and health: the challenge of the gradient. Am Psychol 49:15–4CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  83. 83.
    Bradley RH, Corwyn RF (2002). Socioeconomic status and child development. Annu Rev Psychol 53:371–99CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  84. 84.
    Yen IH, Syme SL (1999) The social environment and health: a discussion of the epidemiologic literature. Annu Rev Public Health 20:287–08CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology and Human Development, Institute of EducationUniversity of LondonLondonUK

Personalised recommendations