Implications of Mothers' Personality for Their Parenting and Their Young Children's Developmental Outcomes


  • This study was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation (DBS-9209559 and SBR-9510863), the National Institute of Mental Health (K02 MH01446-01), the Mac Arthur Foundation, and the University of Iowa (Faculty Scholar Award) to Grazyna Kochanska. We are grateful to Kathy DeVet, Juli Fratzke, Amy Koenig, Kathy Murray, Eric Poole, and Sam Putnam for data collection, to Nazan Aksan, Kathy Connor, Dana Hoppe, Susie Marcinkowski, Keri Neblett, and Kim Vandegeest for the coding of behavioral data, and to mothers and children in the Toddler Study for their enthusiastic participation.

Please direct correspondence to Grazyna Kochanska ( or to Lee Anna Clark (, Department of Psychology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242-1407.


ABSTRACT Using.a recent model (Watson, Clark, & Harkness, 1994), we examined implications of mothers' personality (N= 103) for parenting and children's developmental outcomes, using multiple personality self-reports, lengthy, repeated naturalistic observations, and mothers' reports about-parenting and their child. Mothers high in negative emotionality and disagreeable-ness showed more negative affect and their chidren were more defiant and angry; they also reported more power assertive and less nurturant parenting, as well as less secure attachment, more behavioral problems, and.lower internalizatton of rules in their children. Mothers high in constraint and California Psychological Inventory (CPI) socialization reported more secure attachment and better internalization of rules; CPI socialization also correlated negatively with observed maternal verbal power assertion and children's defiance and anger, and positively with compliance. Regression analyses indicated that mothers' personality, particularly negative emotionality and socialization, influenced broadly conceptualized adaptive child outcomes, even after the influence of parenting was controlled.