Infant Temperament Moderates Relations Between Maternal Parenting in Early Childhood and Children’s Adjustment in First Grade


  • Thanks to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Early Child Care Research Network for designing and carrying out the data collection and to the families and teachers who continue to participate in this longitudinal study. An earlier version of this article was presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association in April 2006.

concerning this article should be addressed to Anne D. Stright, Human Development Program, Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Electronic mail may be sent to


A differential susceptibility hypothesis proposes that children may differ in the degree to which parenting qualities affect aspects of child development. Infants with difficult temperaments may be more susceptible to the effects of parenting than infants with less difficult temperaments. Using latent change curve analyses to analyze data from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care, the current study found that temperament moderated associations between maternal parenting styles during early childhood and children’s first-grade academic competence, social skills, and relationships with teachers and peers. Relations between parenting and first-grade outcomes were stronger for difficult than for less difficult infants. Infants with difficult temperaments had better adjustment than less difficult infants when parenting quality was high and poorer adjustment when parenting quality was lower.