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14-08-2020 | Original Paper | Uitgave 11/2020

Journal of Child and Family Studies 11/2020

Toddler Temperament, Parent Stress, and Autonomy Support

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 11/2020
Auteurs:
Eftichia Andreadakis, Julie C. Laurin, Mireille Joussemet, Geneviève A. Mageau
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Abstract

The present study examined how toddler temperament (negative affectivity, effortful control, and surgency) and parent stress relate to parents’ use of autonomy support (AS) when making requests. Based on past studies pointing to parent stress and toddler difficult temperament as possible risk factors, we proposed a mediation model where toddler temperament was expected to be related indirectly to parents’ use of autonomy-supportive practices via parent stress. Parents (N = 181) reported how often they used autonomy-supportive practices when asking their toddlers (Mage = 27.7 months) to engage in important, yet uninteresting activities. They also answered questions regarding their toddler’s temperament and their own stress levels. A complete mediation hypothesis was supported for negative affectivity but not for the other temperament dimensions. Both toddler negative affectivity and effortful control were indirectly related to parents’ AS, via parent stress. However, effortful control was also directly associated with parent AS over and above parent stress, while surgency was not related to parent stress or parent AS. The present findings underline the need for more research on how to mitigate the impact of difficult temperamental characteristics so as to preserve parents’ support for their toddlers’ need for autonomy.

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