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Keywords:

  • parenting;
  • children;
  • aggression;
  • sex differences

Although multiple dimensions of negative parenting behavior are associated with childhood conduct problems (CP), there is relatively little research on whether the association is equally robust in boys and girls. To improve the specificity of current models of negative parenting and offspring CP, we explored the potential moderating role of child sex in a sample of 179 5- to 10-year-old ethnically diverse boys and girls with and without attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who were assessed using multiple methods (i.e., rating scales, semistructured interviews) and informants (i.e., parents, teachers). Controlling for children's age, race-ethnicity, and ADHD diagnostic status (i.e., ADHD vs. non-ADHD), inconsistent discipline was positively associated with offspring aggression and rule-breaking behavior, whereas harsh punishment was positively associated with aggression, rule-breaking behavior, and oppositional defiant disorder symptoms. Furthermore, child sex significantly moderated the association of inconsistent discipline and aggression and rule-breaking behavior, such that inconsistent discipline was positively associated with CP for boys, but not for girls. Given the centrality of negative parenting to theories of and efficacious interventions for aggression and CP, we discuss these findings within a developmental psychopathology framework and consider their implications for intervention. Aggr. Behav. 38:239–251, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.