Understanding relations among children's shy and antisocial/aggressive behaviors and mothers' parenting: The role of maternal beliefs

Cortney A. Evans, Brigham Young University
Larry J. Nelson, Brigham Young University
Christin L. Porter, Brigham Young University
David A. Nelson, Brigham Young University
Craig H. Hart, Brigham Young University


This study assesses the relationships between children's shy and antisocial/aggressive behaviors and maternal beliefs, and concomitant parenting behaviors. Structural equation models examined 199 mothers' perceptions of aggression and shyness in their preschool-age children (average age = 59.63 months); maternal beliefs (i.e., locus of control, perceived harm, efficacy) about shyness and aggression, respectively; and maternal reported parenting behaviors (i.e., authoritarian, authoritative, permissive). Results suggest both shyness and aggression are negatively associated with maternal efficacy in dealing with shy and aggressive behavior. Lower levels of parenting efficacy beliefs in dealing with child aggression are related to greater levels of authoritarian parenting and less easygoing parenting behavior. Further, child aggression is related to multiple maternal beliefs (e.g., perceived harm, efficacy), whereas child shyness is related only to efficacy beliefs. Taken together, our findings suggest that aggression, though not shyness, may relate to mothers' parenting through associations with maternal beliefs. Findings extend our understanding of the child's role in contributing to the socialization environment associated with maternal beliefs and behaviors. © 2012 by Wayne State University Press, Detroit, MI 48201.