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Family income, parental education and internalizing and externalizing psychopathology among 2–3-year-old Chinese children: The mediator effect of parent–child conflict

Authors

  • Xiao Zhang

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Early Childhood Education, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, Tai Po, Hong Kong
    • Correspondence should be addressed to Xiao Zhang, Department of Early Childhood Education, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, 10 Lo Ping Road, Tai Po, New Territories, Hong Kong. (E-mail: xiao@graduate.hku.hk).

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Abstract

Using a sample of 156 Chinese children aged 2–3 years and their parents, this study examined the effects of socio-economic status, specifically family income and parental education, on the children's internalizing and externalizing psychopathology and whether these effects were mediated by mother–child and father–child conflict. Results indicated that family income, maternal education and paternal education all negatively predicted externalizing symptoms. Income also negatively predicted internalizing symptoms among boys but not girls. Maternal education negatively predicted internalizing symptoms among girls but not boys. The effects of income on psychopathology were fully mediated by mother–child and father–child conflict. In contrast, the effects of education were not mediated or only partially mediated by conflict. Findings are discussed in the framework of the family stress model.

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