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10-10-2017 | Original Paper | Uitgave 2/2018

Journal of Child and Family Studies 2/2018

Maternal Life Stress and Subsequent Chinese Toddlers’ Social Adjustment: The Moderating Role of Inhibitory Control

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 2/2018
Siman Liu, Nan Zhou, Zhengyan Wang, Xi Liang, Jiahui Shi
Belangrijke opmerkingen
Nan Zhou and Siman Liu contributed equally to this work.


The current study examined the links between maternal life stress and subsequent toddler behavior problems and social competence, as well as the potential moderating effects of cool and hot inhibitory control (IC) in mainland China. Participants included 89 mothers and their infants (42 boys, 47 girls). Mothers completed self-report measure of maternal life stress when their children were 1 year of age (M = 1.18, SD = .07 at Time 1), and reported on their children’s social adjustment using the Chinese version of Infant-Toddler Social and Emotional Assessment (CITSEA) at Time 1 and again a year later (M = 2.06, SD = .09 at Time 2). Toddler IC was assessed with laboratory tasks at Time 2. Structural equation modeling with a bootstrap resample of 1000 indicated that cool IC significantly moderated the longitudinal association between maternal life stress (T1) and latent construct of toddler behavior problems (T2), controlling for behavior problems at Time 1, child age and maternal age. Specifically, maternal life stress was associated with subsequent behavior problems only for toddlers who were low in cool IC. In comparison to the results of behavior problems, high levels of maternal life stress predicted subsequent low levels of social competence. Neither cool IC nor hot IC served as the moderator in the association between maternal life stress (T1) and toddler social competence (T2). These findings indicated that toddler cool IC may promote resilient adaptation and modify the links between maternal life stress and toddler behavior problems but not social competence.

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