Infant effortful control mediates relations between nondirective parenting and internalising-related child behaviours in an autism-enriched infant cohort
Smith, C., Jones, E., Wass, S., Pasco, G., Johnson, M., Charman, & Wan, M. 2021. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Internalising problems are common within Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD); early intervention to support those with emerging signs may be warranted. One promising signal lies in how individual differences in temperament are shaped by parenting. Our longitudinal study of infants with and without an older sibling with ASD investigated how parenting associates with infant behavioural inhibition (8–14 months) and later effortful control (24 months) in relation to 3-year internalising symptoms. Mediation analyses suggest nondirective parenting (8 months) was related to fewer internalising problems through an increase in effortful control. Parenting did not moderate the stable predictive relation of behavioural inhibition on later internalising. We discuss the potential for parenting to strengthen protective factors against internalising in infants from an ASD-enriched cohort.