Studies Controlling lor Child Ellects

Earlier, we highlighted the potential importance of controlling for “child effects" We did not find any studies that specifically looked at the dynamics of child behavioral influences on parental warmth or rejection and subsequent influences of warmth/rejection on child violence. Three studies where control variables might be considered “child effects” were reported, and they do not report a significant association between parental warmth and child violence, controlling for child factors (Brendgen et al., 2001; Scholte et al., 2007; Stacks et al., 2009). All three models included conservative controls for earlier antisocial or aggressive behavior. Because we have to expect that parental warmth influenced earlier wave behavior and that the effect of wave-to-wave changes in parental warmth are not likely to be very potent, we do not draw any strong conclusions from this set of studies.

Regarding parental rejection, the emerging evidence suggests that the significant negative association with violent behavior withstands conservative controls for child effects. In Barnow’s structural model (Barnow et al., 2005), the effect of obstetric complications and antisocial personality disorder in the parents (which could be seen as a possible proxy for genetics) are controlled, and parental rejection still has a direct effect on aggression. A model presented by Brannigan et al. (2002) controls for hyperactivity, and two studies include maternal prenatal tobacco use as a covariate (Day et al., 2000; Huijbregts et al., 2008). Huijbregts et al. (2008) also controlled for mother’s antisocial behavior, father’s antisocial behavior, and child’s birth weight. One exception to this pattern of findings was reported by Brennan et al. In their analysis of data from the Copenhagen cohort, the authors did not find a significant association between maternal rejection and violent crime in a model which controlled for maternal smoking during pregnancy, delivery complications, pregnancy complications, maternal drug use during pregnancy, father’s criminal behavior, father’s psychiatric hospitalization, and mother’s psychiatric hospitalization (Brennan et al., 1999).

 
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