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This prospective longitudinal study examined the associations between parent locus of control of reinforcement (LOCR), measured before the birth of a child, and behavioral/emotional outcomes in that child at age seven years. Three hundred seven couples completed questionnaires regarding their emotional status and LOCR at their first prenatal care appointment. When their children turned seven years old, teachers completed questionnaires regarding each participating child’s behavior. Findings indicate significant associations between fathers’ prenatal LOCR and child outcomes, particularly hyperactivity in sons. Hyperactivity and behavioral/emotional problems in girls, in contrast, were better predicted by maternal prenatal emotional distress. Results provide evidence that both paternal and maternal characteristics that predate the birth of a child relate to later behavioral outcomes in that child. Implications for prevention of child psychopathology are discussed.


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Tone, E. B., Goodfellow, S., Nowicki, S. Jr. (2012). Father Locus of Control and Child Emotional and Behavioral Outcomes: A Prospective Study. The Journal of Genetic Psychology, 173(1), 3-22. DOI: 10.1080/00221325.2011.571307

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