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24-02-2018 | Uitgave 8/2018

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 8/2018

Callous-Unemotional Traits and Effortful Control Mediate the Effect of Parenting Intervention on Preschool Conduct Problems

Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology > Uitgave 8/2018
Yoel Elizur, Lior Y. Somech
Belangrijke opmerkingen
Yoel Elizur and Lior Y. Somech contributed equally to this work.


Parenting intervention (PI) is an effective treatment for children’s conduct problems (CP) that has been shown to be mediated by improved parenting practices and parenting self-efficacy. Recently, Hitkashrut’s randomized controlled trial demonstrated that ineffective parenting (IP) mediated effects on callous-unemotional (CU) traits and effortful control (EC), while controlling for more general treatment effects on CP. These temperament and personality-based features predict the formation of early-onset antisocial trajectories with poor long-term prognosis. The objective of this study was to use Hitkashrut’s 3-wave dataset to test posttreatment EC and CU mediation of treatment effect on 1-year follow-up CP, and to determine whether mediation by each child-level potential mediator remains significant when tested concurrently with the parenting mediator. Parents of 209 3–5 year-old preschoolers (163 boys; 46 girls), with subclinical-clinical range CP were assigned to 14-session co-parent training groups (n = 140 couples), or to minimal intervention control groups (n = 69 couples). Assessments were based on both parents’ questionnaires. An intent-to-treat analysis showed that EC and CU traits simultaneously mediated treatment effects on CP in one EC/CU mediational model. The concurrent testing of child- and parent-level mediators showed mediation by IP and CU traits in the CU/IP model, and IP mediation in the EC/IP model. Similar results were obtained in mediational analyses that controlled for the shared variance between the mediators and CP at T2. Overall, the findings support an intervention model of coaching parents of high-CP children to promote moral self-regulatory competencies while concurrently applying behavioral methods that directly target CP.

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