Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Arnold L. Stolberg


Externalizing behavior is stable as early as 2 years of age and is a precursor to many childhood and adult negative outcomes. Although global self report data show a relationship between parenting and children's externalizing, few studies have examined the proximal effect of observed mother's parenting on children's expression of aggression. A sample of 55 primarily African American, toddler-mother dyads were observed in their homes. Data was collected on the 2-year-old children's emotional reactivity, externalizing behavior, social competence and mother's harsh and supportive parenting. A second wave of data was collected one year later with a smaller sample, n=37.Children who were boys and more emotionally reactive had higher Externalizing scores on the CBCL, both at age 2 and 3. Mothers who used contingent harsh parenting in response to child noncompliance had children who were higher on Externalizing behavior concurrently, but not across time. Mother's contingent supportive parenting in response to child compliance at age 2 predicted children's Social Competence at age 3. Results lend support to a transactional model of parent-child interaction very early in development that can be linked variously to children's aggressive, acting out and prosocial behaviors.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008

Included in

Psychology Commons