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The Moderating Role of Maternal Praise and Positivity in the Association Between Callous-Unemotional (CU) Traits and Later Aggression: A Prospective Study in Preschool Children in Colombia

Obando, Diana, Hill, Jonathan and Wright, Nicola ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3285-2051 (2022) The Moderating Role of Maternal Praise and Positivity in the Association Between Callous-Unemotional (CU) Traits and Later Aggression: A Prospective Study in Preschool Children in Colombia. Child Psychiatry and Human Development. ISSN 0009-398X

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Abstract

Our previous findings in the UK and Colombia show that CU traits predict later aggression specifically among children who are already aggressive. We hypothesised that this effect would be reduced in the presence of maternal praise and positivity. In a sample of 220 mothers and children from Colombia, mother–child interactions were coded for maternal praise and positivity, and mothers reported on children’s CU traits at age 3.5 and aggression at ages 3.5 and 5 years. The results show three-way interactions between CU traits, child aggression and observed parenting at age 3.5 years in the prediction of later child aggression, and two-way interactions indicating a protective effect of positive parenting in the high aggressive children. Based on our finding, it is plausible that positive parenting may modify the effect of CU traits in the highly vulnerable group of children who are already aggressive in early childhood.

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