We examined direct and indirect pathways from marital hostility to toddler anger/frustration via harsh parenting and parental depressive symptoms, with an additional focus on the moderating role of genetic influences as inferred from birth parent anger/frustration. Participants were 361 linked triads of birth mothers, adoptive parents, and adopted children who were 9 (T1) and 18 (T2) months old across the study period. Results indicated an indirect effect from T1 marital hostility to T2 toddler anger/frustration via T2 parental harsh discipline. Results also indicated that the association between marital hostility and toddler anger was moderated by birth mother anger/frustration. For children whose birth mothers reported high levels of anger/frustration, adoptive parents' marital hostility at T1 predicted toddler anger/frustration at T2. This relation did not hold for children whose birth mothers reported low levels of anger/frustration. The results suggest that children whose birth mothers report elevated frustration might inherit an emotional lability that makes them more sensitive to the effects of marital hostility.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- General Psychology