Personal and couple level risk factors: Maternal and paternal parent-child aggression risk

Academic Article


  • Previous literature examining parent-child aggression (PCA) risk has relied heavily upon mothers, limiting our understanding of paternal risk factors. Moreover, the extent to which factors in the couple relationship work in tandem with personal vulnerabilities to impact PCA risk is unclear. The current study examined whether personal stress and distress predicted PCA risk (child abuse potential, over-reactive discipline style, harsh discipline practices) for fathers as well as mothers and whether couple functioning mediated versus moderated the relation between personal stress and PCA risk in a sample of 81 couples. Additionally, the potential for risk factors in one partner to cross over and affect their partner's PCA risk was considered. Findings indicated higher personal stress predicted elevated maternal and paternal PCA risk. Better couple functioning did not moderate this relationship but partially mediated stress and PCA risk for both mothers and fathers. In addition, maternal stress evidenced a cross-over effect, wherein mothers’ personal stress linked to fathers’ couple functioning. Findings support the role of stress and couple functioning in maternal and paternal PCA risk, including potential cross-over effects that warrant further inquiry.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Tucker MC; Rodriguez CM; Baker LR
  • Start Page

  • 213
  • End Page

  • 222
  • Volume

  • 69