Predictors of between-family and within-family variation in parent–child relationships
Article first published online: 12 APR 2006
Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
Volume 47, Issue 5, pages 498–510, May 2006
How to Cite
O'Connor, T. G., Dunn, J., Jenkins, J. M. and Rasbash, J. (2006), Predictors of between-family and within-family variation in parent–child relationships. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47: 498–510. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2005.01527.x
- Issue published online: 12 APR 2006
- Article first published online: 12 APR 2006
- Manuscript accepted 29 April 2005
- Parent–child relationships;
- differential parenting;
- behavior problems;
- research design
Background: Previous studies have found that multiple factors are associated with parent–child relationship quality, but have not distinguished potential sources of between-family and within-family variation in parent–child relationship quality.
Methods: Approximately equal numbers of biological (non-stepfamilies), single-mother, stepfather, and complex/stepmother stepfamilies were selected from a large community study in England. The sample comprised 404 children in 171 families. Parent–child warmth/support and conflict/negativity were assessed using questionnaire and interview methods; family socio-demographic data were collected from parent report.
Results: Multilevel model analyses indicated substantial within-family variation in parent–child relationship quality, and greater within-family variation in complex/stepmother families compared to other family types. Within-family variation was largely accounted for by differences in the siblings’ biological relatedness to the mother and father and to child-specific factors, notably aggressive behavior.
Conclusions: The findings illustrate how research using multilevel model designs and analytic strategies may enhance our understanding of family process.