Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 24, Issue 10, pp 2881–2891 | Cite as

Non-Child-Related Family Stress, Parenting Styles, and Behavior Problems in School-Age Girls Adopted from China

  • Tony Xing Tan
  • Cheryl D. Gelley
  • Robert F. Dedrick
Original Paper


Parenting has been conceptualized to mediate or moderate children’s adaptation to family stress. Our study expanded the literature to determine, within the adoptive context, how non-child-related family stress (NCR-family stress; e.g., parent’s problems at work) and parenting styles were related to internalizing and externalizing problems in school-age girls adopted from China. Using data from the third wave of a longitudinal study, 651 school-age girls were identified for the current analysis. On average, the girls were 9.3 years old (SD = 2.7) and were adopted at 15.6 months (SD = 13.8). Data on NCR-family stress, parenting styles and child behavior problems were collected from the adoptive mothers using the social problem questionnaire, parenting styles and dimensions questions, and Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL/6–18), respectively. After controlling for age at adoption, age, the adoptive mother’s education level, household income, and the girls’ corresponding behavior problems from the second wave of data (2 years prior), we found that that the association between NCR-family stress and the adopted Chinese girls’ internalizing problems and externalizing problems was mediated by authoritarian parenting and moderated by authoritative parenting.


Parenting style Family stress Adopted Chinese girls Behavior problems Mediating effect Moderating effect 



The authors would like to acknowledge Dr. Shannon Suldo for her input to the earlier versions of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tony Xing Tan
    • 1
  • Cheryl D. Gelley
    • 2
  • Robert F. Dedrick
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Educational and Psychological StudiesUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA
  2. 2.Hillsborough County Public SchoolsTampaUSA

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