Get access

The Role of Parenting Styles in Children's Problem Behavior


  • This study is part of the ongoing Jyväskylä Entrance into Primary School (JEPS) Study, and was funded by grants from the Finnish Academy (63099, 778230). A version of this article was presented in August 2003 at the XIth European Conference on Developmental Psychology, Milano, Italy. We would like to express our gratitude to all the children and their parents who participated in this study.

concerning this article should be addressed to Kaisa Aunola, Department of Psychology, University of Jyväskylä, PO Box 35, 40014 Jyväskylä, Finland. Electronic mail may be sent to


This study investigated the combination of mothers' and fathers' parenting styles (affection, behavioral control, and psychological control) that would be most influential in predicting their children's internal and external problem behaviors. A total of 196 children (aged 5–6 years) were followed up six times from kindergarten to the second grade to measure their problem behaviors. Mothers and fathers filled in a questionnaire measuring their parenting styles once every year. The results showed that a high level of psychological control exercised by mothers combined with high affection predicted increases in the levels of both internal and external problem behaviors among children. Behavioral control exercised by mothers decreased children's external problem behavior but only when combined with a low level of psychological control.

Get access to the full text of this article