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Impact of Parent-Child Relationship and Gender on Trajectories of Children Internalizing Problems

18 Pages Posted: 10 Jan 2019

See all articles by Chia Yun Wu

Chia Yun Wu

National Taiwan Normal University

Tony Szu-Hsien Lee

National Taiwan Normal University - Department of Health Promotion and Health Education



Background: Parenting and parental-child relationship may lead children to develop behavior problems that can affect many aspects of their later life, such as happiness, health, intelligence and mental illness. This study aimed to examine the impact of parent-child relationship and gender on the development of internalizing behavior problems (IBP) in children.

Methods: Childhood and Adolescent Behaviors in Long-term Evolution (CABLE) is a longitudinal healthy-lifestyle research for which 18 elementary schools were randomly selected respectively in Taipei and Hsinchu in Taiwan. Data were collected on family interactions, lifestyle, problem behaviors and physical health. Data on gender, parent-child relations, and internalizing problem behaviors from four waves of follow-up were analyzed in this paper: 2003 (9 year olds), 2006 (12 year olds), 2009 (15 year olds) and 2012 (18 year olds). A latent growth model (LGM) was used to examine the impact of parental-child relationship and gender on the trajectory of children's IBP.

Results: Results show that IBP is more severe (r = 0.21, p < 0.01) and their growth rate faster (r = 0.15, p < 0.01) in girls than in boys. Results from latent growth model show that parent-child relationship is negatively related to the IBP intercept (r = -0.59, p < 0.01) and is positively related to the IBP slope (r = 0.18, p < 0.01).

Conclusions: The findings suggest that girls are more susceptible to IBP in puberty, and better parent-child relationship can have a protective influence although the protective impact reduced through time. Health professionals should be sensitive to gender, family functioning and provide positive parenting programs for children at risk for IBP.

Funding Statement: National Health Research Institutes and Health Promotion Administration, Ministry of Health and Welfare Taiwan, grant number HP-090-SG-03.

Declaration of Interests: The authors have no conflicts of interest relevant to this article to disclose.

Ethics Approval Statement: This study protocol was reviewed and approved by the human protection committee of the National Health Research Institutes Taiwan.

Keywords: Gender difference, Internalizing behavior problems, Latent growth curve, Parent-child relationship, Trajectory

Suggested Citation

Yun Wu, Chia and Lee, Tony Szu-Hsien, Impact of Parent-Child Relationship and Gender on Trajectories of Children Internalizing Problems (July 1, 2019). Available at SSRN: or

Chia Yun Wu

National Taiwan Normal University

No. 162, Section 1
Heping East Road
Taipei City, Da’an District 106

Tony Szu-Hsien Lee (Contact Author)

National Taiwan Normal University - Department of Health Promotion and Health Education ( email )


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