A1 Journal article (refereed)
Supportive Parenting Buffers the Effects of Low Peer Acceptance on Children’s Internalizing Problem Behaviors (2019)

Zarra-Nezhad, M., Moazami-Goodarzi, A., Aunola, K., Nurmi, J.-E., Kiuru, N., & Lerkkanen, M.-K. (2019). Supportive Parenting Buffers the Effects of Low Peer Acceptance on Children’s Internalizing Problem Behaviors. Child and Youth Care Forum, 48(6), 865-887. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10566-019-09510-y

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Zarra-Nezhad, Maryam; Moazami-Goodarzi, Ali; Aunola, Kaisa; Nurmi, Jari-Erik; Kiuru, Noona; Lerkkanen, Marja-Kristiina

Journal or series: Child and Youth Care Forum

ISSN: 1573-3319

eISSN: 1053-1890

Publication year: 2019

Volume: 48

Issue number: 6

Pages range: 865-887

Publisher: Springer

Publication country: United States

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10566-019-09510-y

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Partially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/65916



Children who are not accepted in their peer group are at risk of developing internalizing problem behaviors. It is possible, however, that supportive parenting can provide a buffer against the detrimental effects of low peer acceptance.

This study examined maternal and paternal affection and psychological control as moderators of the association between children’s peer acceptance during the critical transition to primary school and level and subsequent development of internalizing problem behaviors from first to sixth grade.

A total of 608 children (264 girls, 344 boys) were rated by their teachers on their internalizing problems in grades 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6. Children’s peer acceptance was measured in the first grade using a sociometric nomination procedure. At the same time point, mothers (n = 432) and fathers (n = 281) completed questionnaires measuring their levels of affection and psychological control.

The results of latent growth curve modelling showed, first, that on average children’s internalizing problems decreased over the school years. Second, peer acceptance was associated with the development of internalizing problems: the higher the peer acceptance, the bigger the decrease—and the lower the peer acceptance, the smaller the decrease—in the level of internalizing problems across time. However, high maternal affection provided a buffer against this impact of low peer acceptance. Among boys, low levels of maternal psychological control also provided a buffer against the effects of low peer acceptance. No significant results were found on the moderating role of fathers’ parenting styles.

Overall, the results suggested that mothers’ emotionally sensitive and supporting caregiving may protect children from the harmful long-term effects of low peer acceptance.

Keywords: acceptance (psychology); peer groups; children (age groups); problem behaviour; parenthood; encouragement; affection (attachment); control; parent-child relationship

Free keywords: peer acceptance; supportive parenting; affection; psychological control; internalizing problems

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2019

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2023-10-01 at 13:15