The current study tested a transactional model including children’s (N = 122, 10–13 years old) emotional reactivity, maternal responsiveness, and attachment-related interpretation bias to explain childhood externalizing, internalizing, and total problem behaviors. Children’s emotional reactivity was related to externalizing, internalizing, and total problem behaviors. Maternal responsiveness was related to externalizing and total problem behaviors. Attachment-related interpretation bias was not directly related to any type of problem behavior. In line with the transactional model’s prediction, a three-way interaction between these factors was found for internalizing and total problem behaviors, suggesting that children, who are more emotionally reactive, experience little maternal responsiveness, are more vulnerable to experience distress, and have learned to interpret mother’s ambiguous behavior as unsupportive, are most at risk to display internalizing and total problem behaviors. Results suggest that attachment-related interpretation bias appears to play a role in childhood problem behaviors in the presence of other risk factors.
- Interpretation bias
- Middle childhood attachment
- Problem behaviors
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Life-span and Life-course Studies