Objective: This study examined four types of stability (factorial equivalence over time, mean-level stability, rank-order stability, and individual-level stability) in five facets of parenting (support, structure, positive discipline, psychological control, and physical punishment) during toddlerhood for both mothers and fathers. Design: Mothers and fathers from 108 intact Dutch families with a son reported about their parenting behavior in three measurement waves when the child was 17, 23, and 29 months of age. Results: Confirmatory factor analyses showed that all five parenting facets measured as invariant over time and across mothers and fathers (factorial equivalence). Support, structure, and physical punishment displayed high mean-level stability and rank-order stability. Although the mean levels of positive discipline and psychological control increased, these parenting facets showed high levels of rank-order stability. Mothers and fathers reported similar levels of parenting behavior and similar patterns of change. Person oriented analyses showed there are differences in individual patterns of change in parenting. Conclusions: Measures of parenting were factorially equivalent, supporting the notions that the content of parenting facets does not change across time and that similar constructs were measured for mothers and fathers. At the group level, high levels of mean-level stability and rank-order stability suggest that self-reported parenting is quite stable during the toddler period. However, findings at the individual level show that some parents report changes in parenting. Examination of the characteristics that might account for these changes is an important next step in future parenting research.
Verhoeven, M., Junger, M., van Aken, C., Dekovic, M., & van Aken, M. A. G. (2007). A short-term longitudinal study of the development of self-reported patenting during toddlerhood. Parenting: science and practice, 7(4), 367-394. https://doi.org/10.1080/15295190701665672