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Annotation: The `effects' of parenting reconsidered: findings, challenges, and applications

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Background: Questions remain concerning the `effects' of parenting on behavioural/emotional problems in children. This annotation discusses recent findings concerning the parenting `effects' literature and identifies areas in need of further research. Method: The review begins by examining theories and definitions of parenting, and then considers research findings on the predictors of parent–child relationships and their effects on behavioural/emotional adjustment in children. Evidence for causal processes are then examined in light of findings emphasizing the need to consider the impact of larger systems on child's well-being, bi-directional processes in parent–child interactions, and alternative hypotheses suggested by behavioural genetics. Results: Different kinds of evidence suggest strong links between parent–child relationship quality and children's well-being, but difficulties remain for drawing causal connections. The need for greater integration among research traditions and the need for theory development are highlighted. In addition, although a substantial and robust research base exists on parent–child relationships, the applicability of these findings to clinical settings is uncertain. Conclusions: Substantial progress has been made in our understanding of the nature of parent–child relationships and their developmental effects, but a number of basic conceptual and methodological and clinical questions continue to need rigorous study.
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Keywords: Parent–child relationship; behavioural genetics; development; psychopathology

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK

Publication date: July 1, 2002

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