Mediating roles of character traits and parenting in the relationship between maternal effortful control and children’s conduct problems

Maor Yeshua, Ada H. Zohar, Andrea Berger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Parenting practices are crucial to children’s development and are important predictors of children’s conduct problems. The aim of the current study was to test the mediating role of mothers’ character traits on the relationship between their temperamental self-regulation and their parenting practices, and on their children’s conduct problems. Method: A representative sample of 387 Israeli mothers of kindergarten children was recruited online. They completed questionnaires about their own effortful control (adult temperament questionnaire; ATQ), character traits (temperament and character inventory-revised (TCI-R), big five inventory (BFI)), and parenting practices (coping with children’s negative emotions scale; CCNES), as well as conduct problems of their children (strengths and difficulties questionnaire; SDQ). Structural equation models were fitted, testing for direct and indirect connections, once with character traits drawn from the TCI and once with BFI traits. Results: In both analyses, the first model presented a significant direct effect between mothers’ effortful control and children’s conduct problems. When including mother’s parenting and character (based on the TCI or on the BFI) in the model, the direct path became insignificant and significant mediation effects were found; specifically, the indirect path through the parenting practices, as well as the mediated mediation path through the parenting practices and character. Moreover, mediation effects were found between mothers’ effortful control and parenting practices through some character traits. The selected models showed a good fit (e.g., NFI = 0.985; CFI = 0.997; RMSEA = 0.038). Discussion: Our findings emphasize the importance of the mother’s mature personality characteristics, the mother’s actual parental practices, and the crucial value of this path for predicting child behavior outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere15211
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023


  • Big-five
  • Conduct problems
  • Effortful control
  • Parenting
  • TCI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Neuroscience


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