Maternal and Paternal Attributions in the Prediction of Boys’ Behavior Problems Across Time.


We examined the extent to which mother and father attributions for child behavior problems predict child behavior problems over time, accounting for the other parent’s attributions, initial child problems and the child’s attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) status. Parents of 7- to 12-year-old boys with (n = 26) and without (n = 38) ADHD participated. Parents completed the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) as a measure of their son’s behavior problems as well as the Written Analogue Questionnaire, reporting their attributions for child behavior problems. Parents completed the SDQ a second time 7 months later. Both mother and father attributions were associated with child behavior problems at Time 1 and again 7 months later. However, when ADHD status and the other parent’s attributions for child behavior were controlled, only father attributions predicted child behavior problems, and continued to be uniquely predictive of child behavior problems at Time 2 even with initial child behavior problems controlled. Father attributions provide unique information above and beyond mother attributions when considering current and future child behavior problems.