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Predicting Dyadic Synchrony in Early Childhood: Maternal, Child, and Contextual Antecedents




Lin, Mei-Chun

Type of Degree



Human Development and Family Studies


Parent-child dyadic synchrony has been found to predict children’s later adjustment outcomes. However, few studies have examined the factors that promote or interfere with the development of synchrony. Using data from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development (N = 1364), the present study examined the role of maternal (i.e., maternal depressive symptoms, responsiveness), child (i.e., temperament), and contextual (i.e., SES) antecedents of mother-child dyadic synchrony at 54 months. The present study aimed to examine the longitudinal association between the trajectory of maternal depressive symptoms and dyadic synchrony, the mediating role of maternal responsiveness in the linkage, and the moderating roles of SES and child temperament. The intercept, but not the slope, of maternal depressive symptoms predicted dyadic synchrony and this link was mediated by maternal responsiveness. Family SES and child temperament moderated the meditational model. Additional analyses sought to identify the specific paths that were moderated by SES and temperament. SES moderated the link between the depressive symptoms intercept and maternal responsiveness; the negative effect of depressive symptoms was stronger for mothers from average SES families than for mothers from low and high SES families. SES did not moderate the responsiveness – synchrony link. Child temperament moderated the link between the depressive symptoms intercept and maternal responsiveness. The negative effect of depressive symptoms on responsiveness was stronger for mothers of children with average and difficult temperament than for mothers with easygoing children.