This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Children’s Externalizing and Internalizing Behavior and Social Competence predicted by Home Environment: Are These Associations Mediated by Social Competence and Moderated by Child Maltreatment?




Silva, Kelcie

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Human Development and Family Studies


Home environment is often related to child functioning, including child social competence and child externalizing and internalizing behaviors. However, there is limited research that has examined how child abuse status, child sex, and child social competence can affect these relationships. The purpose of this study is to examine how the home environment, made up of family functioning, parenting attitudes, and parent relationship quality, when children are four years old affects child social competence at child age 10, and if home environment at age 4 and social competence at age 10 influence child externalizing and internalizing behaviors at child age 12. Additionally, this study examines whether these relationships differ according to child abuse status at age 4 and child sex, as well as if child social competence acts as a mediating variable. This study examines 1,204 children and mothers in a high-risk sample. We found that family functioning and parent relationship quality is predictive of child social competence and child externalizing and internalizing behaviors, while parenting attitudes had no effect. Furthermore, the relationship between home environment, child social competence, and child externalizing and internalizing behaviors were moderated by child sex and child abuse status. Child social competence did not mediate the relationship between home environment and child outcome behaviors.