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Relations of Parenting and Temperament to Chinese Children’s Experience of Negative Life Events, Coping Efficacy, and Externalizing Problems


  • This article is adapted from a doctoral dissertation by the first author submitted to the Division of Graduate Studies of Arizona State University. This research was supported by an American Psychological Association Dissertation Award and an Arizona State University Graduate and Professional Student Association Research Grant Award to Qing Zhou, and a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to Nancy Eisenberg. The authors wish to thank all the children, parents, and teachers who participated or contributed to this project. We thank Irwin Sandler for his helpful suggestions on this project and the graduate students at Beijing Normal University who assisted in the study.

concerning this article should be addressed to Qing Zhou, Department of Psychology, University of California, 3210 Tolman Hall #1650, Berkeley, CA 94720-1650. Electronic mail may be sent to


The relations of parenting and temperament (effortful control and anger/frustration) to children’s externalizing problems were examined in a 3.8-year longitudinal study of 425 native Chinese children (6–9 years) from Beijing. Children’s experience of negative life events and coping efficacy were examined as mediators in the parenting- and temperament-externalizing relations. Parents reported on their own parenting. Parents and teachers rated temperament. Children reported on negative life events and coping efficacy. Parents, teachers, children, or peers rated children’s externalizing problems. Authoritative and authoritarian parenting and anger/frustration uniquely predicted externalizing problems. The relation between authoritarian parenting and externalizing was mediated by children’s coping efficacy and negative school events. The results suggest there is some cross-cultural universality in the developmental pathways for externalizing problems.