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Bidirectional influences between maternal parenting and children's peer problems: a longitudinal monozygotic twin difference study


Address for correspondence: Shinji Yamagata, National Center for University Entrance Examinations, 2-19-23 Komaba, Meguro-ku, Tokyo, 153-8501, Japan; e-mail:


This twin study examined the bidirectional relationship between maternal parenting behaviors and children's peer problems that were not confounded by genetic and family environmental factors. Mothers of 259 monozygotic twin pairs reported parenting behaviors and peer problems when twins were 42 and 48 months. Path analyses on monozygotic twin difference scores revealed that authoritative parenting (the presence of consistent discipline and lack of harsh parenting) and peer problems simultaneously influenced each other. Authoritative parenting reduced peer problems, and peer problems increased authoritative parenting. Neither consistent discipline nor harsh parenting alone was associated with peer problems. These results suggest that maternal authoritative parenting works protectively in regard to children's peer problems, and peer problems can evoke such effective parenting.