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Role of Temperament, Parenting Behaviors, and Stress on Turkish Preschoolers’ Internalizing Symptoms

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Social Development

Published online on


Child‐ and family‐related factors that predict internalizing symptoms are understudied in preschool years and have a negative influence on children's functioning. We examined observational assessments of preschoolers' temperamental fearfulness and exuberance, mother reports of negative control, warmth, and parenting stress in a sample of 109 Turkish preschoolers. High temperamental fearfulness and low joyful/exuberant positive affectivity in addition to low warmth and high parenting stress had significant effects on internalizing symptoms. Parenting stress had both direct and indirect relations to internalizing symptoms via lower maternal warmth. When comorbid elevations in externalizing symptoms were controlled, the results were consistent with the interpretation that poor parenting practices and stress associated with the parenting role predict maladaptation in general but that the specific form of maladaptation may be best predicted by individual differences in children's temperamental characteristics. This study contributes to our understanding of risk and protective factors that predict preschoolers' internalizing symptoms with a sample from a non‐Western population. These findings can guide early prevention and intervention programs to address internalizing problems in a culturally‐sensitive way.