The links between social information processing (SIP) and social behavior in preschool are well documented. However, the antecedents of SIP in that age group are less clear. A number of influential theoretical models suggest that a major contributor to SIP is the quality of the child's relationships with the parent. Therefore, we examined the links among quality of the mother-child relationships (measured via direct observations of dyadic play interactions), the child's SIP patterns (measured via direct interview with the child), and the child's perceived behavior in preschool (measured via teacher reports) in a sample of 218 preschool and kindergarten children and their mothers. Applying structural equation modeling, we found support for our theoretical model with a specific emphasis on the negative nature of this association. Specifically, we found a strong indirect path from maternal negative control to the teacher's negative perception of the child's behavior in preschool and kindergarten via less competent SIP patterns. This empirical path remained intact after controlling for various variables such as the family income, the mother's education level, and the child's expressive language abilities, thereby providing further support for the robustness of this association.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors would like to thank all families and teachers participating in this study and the research assistants who helped with data collection. The study was supported in part by a Marie Curie FP-7 fellowship grant number IRG 247877 to the first author.
© 2015 Elsevier Inc.
- Disruptive behavior
- Maternal negative control
- Mother-child relationships
- Social information processing
- Social skills
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology