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Title: Differential outcomes of temperamental inhibition in social development : interaction between child temperament and parenting practices
Authors: Luke, Yeung Felix
Degree: Ph.D.
Issue Date: 2017
Abstract: Adaptive functioning in social groups and peer relations is essential to children's development. Conversely, internalizing problems and social withdrawal experienced in childhood are associated with developmental difficulties and possibly later anxiety disorders. Contemporary research has found evidence to show that internalizing problems and social withdrawal are largely related to child temperamental inhibition and overprotective and overcontrolling parenting behaviors. Moreover, the two risk factors of temperamental inhibition and maladaptive parenting are likely to cooccur and maintain each other in a transactional manner over time. Meanwhile, intervention at an early age to modify such risk factors has proven to reduce children's negative developmental outcomes in some studies. The present investigation was undertaken with three interrelated studies based on a sample of 352 children aged 3 to 5 years (199 boys) and their parents and preschool teachers recruited from 10 local kindergartens. Data were collected from these participants at 3 time points over a 12month period. Study 1 examined the interaction between child temperament and parenting practices in predicting children's social development outcomes concurrently and prospectively. As the literature on the longitudinally transactional nature of these predictive relations is still sparse, Study 2 explored how child temperamental inhibition, child social outcomes and maladaptive parenting practices influence each other reciprocally over time. Moreover, Study 3 conducted a randomized controlled trial to test the efficacy of a selective parenting intervention program adapted from Western studies to help temperamentally inhibited preschoolaged Hong Kong Chinese children alleviate anxious shyness to improve their longerterm social development. Temperamental inhibition is an important construct and both observational protocols and parent/teacher rating scales have been developed in Western studies for its measurement. These instruments have not yet been validated for use with the Hong Kong Chinese population. The present research therefore developed a brief observational method and adapted two commonly used parent/teacher rating scales for the assessment of Hong Kong Chinese children's levels of temperamental inhibition. The present investigation hypothesized and confirmed that (H1.1) temperamental inhibition could be measured through the observation of preschoolaged children's inhibition to speak to an unfamiliar conversational partner by demonstrating the adequate validity and reliability of a lab observational method; (H1.2) temperamental inhibition positively predicted preschoolaged children's internalizing problems, social withdrawal, and anxious shyness but not regulated shyness, and negatively predicted their social initiative and academic competence; (H1.3) maternal protective parenting positively predicted children's academic competence; (H1.4) maternal protective parenting moderated the relations between temperamental inhibition and internalizing problems/social withdrawal, replicating findings from Western studies. However, the hypotheses that (H1.5) maternal supportive parenting would positively predict children's academic competence and (H1.6) maternal supportive parenting would moderate the relation between temperamental inhibition and internalizing problems/social withdrawal were not supported.
Moreover, the present research provided preliminary support for the hypothesis that child temperamental inhibition, child social outcomes and parenting practices would influence one and other over time. In particular, using crosslagged panel analysis, (H2.1) although only onedirectional but not reciprocal effects were detected between child temperamental inhibition and internalizing problems/social withdrawal over time, (H2.2) maladaptive parenting practices, in terms of verbal hostility and lack of autonomy granting, and the negative child social outcomes of internalizing problems and social withdrawal were found to influence one and other in a transaction manner over time. Last, the present research confirmed the efficacy of the early intervention program by empirically evidencing that (H3.1) temperamentally inhibited children of the participating parents randomly assigned to the intervention group reduced in anxious shyness but not regulated shyness relative to children of parents in the waitlist control group, as rated repeatedly by their teachers after the parents participated in the program. However, (H3.2) the intervention effects on the improvement of children's social initiative with peers and reduction of internalizing problems were not supported. The present research concluded by discussing the implications of the affirmative findings in the Hong Kong Chinese context. Since predictive effects of maternal protective parenting on both children's academic competence and unfavorable social development outcomes were found, a way of resolving the parenting dilemma was suggested. Meanwhile, the parenting intervention evaluated to be both efficacious and feasible was recommended for wider dissemination in the local community. Lastly, plausible explanations for the unexpected findings were also provided.
Subjects: Temperament in children.
Parent and child.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Pages: xviii, 243 pages : color illustrations
Appears in Collections:Thesis

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