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Behavior problems influence development at multiple stages over the lifespan. The present study explores the relations between maternal behavior prior to parenting and offspring behavior problems in childhood and adolescence using National Longitudinal Survey of Youth data (N = 2,820 dyads with 50.0 % male offspring and 52.2 % of ethnic/racial minority status). Index scores for behavior problems were created for mothers prior to parenting and for offspring at two time points. Path analyses indicated that maternal behavior problems prior to parenthood predicted offspring being at increased risk for behavior problems in childhood and adolescence. Mothers’ behavior had a significant influence on adolescent behavior, even after childhood behavior problems and demographic covariates were taken into account. Post-hoc analyses demonstrated the stability of behavior problems is especially strong for males. Results support a long tradition of research and the external validity of the stability of behavior problems as well as the importance of maternal behavior prior to parenthood for their future offspring across development. Clinical and policy implications are discussed.
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- Maternal Behavior Prior to Parenting as a Transgenerational Predictor of Offspring Behavior
Rachel N. Schentag Trella
Scott R. Miller
Carlin J. Miller
- Springer US