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31-08-2019 | Original Paper | Uitgave 12/2019

Journal of Child and Family Studies 12/2019

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

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 12/2019
Gizem Arikan, Asiye Kumru, Beliz Korkut, Ali O. Ilhan
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Supplementary information

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10826-019-01529-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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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.

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