Relationships between Parenting Environment and Children's Mental Health among African American and European American Mothers and Children

Article excerpt

This study examined the relationship between aspects of the parenting environment and children's conduct problems and anxious symptoms among socioeconomically comparable samples of African American and European American mothers and their kindergarten children. Ethnic differences in parenting may lead to differences in the relationship between parenting and child outcomes. Thus, the moderating role of ethnicity for the relationships between parenting and children's mental health was tested. African American and European American parents were similar in their parenting practices. European American children reported a higher number of anxious symptoms, however. Parenting and family interaction patterns were associated with children's anxious symptoms and conduct problems. Although many relationships were similar across ethnic groups, there were ethnic differences in the relationships between maternal parenting efficacy and anxiety and between hostile control and conduct problems. These similarities and differences are dis

cussed in light of theory and familial, cultural, and environmental niches.

Key Words: African American families, anxiety, conduct problems, European American families, parenting.

NOTE

The authors wish to thank members of the Study Group on Culture and Ethnicity, especially Velma McBride Murry, Ellen Pinderhughes, Emilie P. Smith, and Paul Spicer, for their helpful and insightful comments on this manuscript.

[Reference]

REFERENCES

[Reference]

Aiken, L. S., & West, S. G. (1991). Multiple regression: Testing and interpreting interactions. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Alexander, J. (1973). Defensive and supportive communications in normal and deviant families. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 40, 223-231.

Baldwin, A. L., Baldwin, C., & Cole, R. E. (1990). Stress-resistant families and stress-resistant children. In J. Rolf, A. S. Masten, D. Cicchetti, K. H. Nuechterlein, & S. Weintraub (Eds.), Risk and protective factors in the development of psychopathology (pp. 257-280). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

[Reference]

Barling, J., MacEwen, K. E., & Nolte, M. L. (1993). Homemaker role experiences affect toddler behaviors via maternal well-being and parenting behaviors. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 21, 213-229.

Baumrind, D. (1972). An exploratory study of socialization effects on Black children: Some Black-White comparisons. Child Development, 43, 261-267.

Biggar, H., Forehand, R., Chance, M. W., Morse, E., Morse, P, & Stock, M. (2000). The relationship of maternal HIV status and home variables to academic performance of African American children. AIDS and Behavior, 4, 241-252.

Billingsley, A. (1974). Black families and the struggle for survival: Teaching our children to walk tall. New York: Friendship Press.

Billingsley, A. (1992). Climbing Jacob's ladder: The

[Reference]

enduring legacy of African-American families. New York: Simon and Schuster.

Brody, G., & Flor, D. (1998). Maternal resources, parenting practices, and child competence in rural, single-parent African American families. Child Development, 69, 803-816.

Caldwell, C. B., & Pianta, R. C. (1991). A measure of young children's problem and competence behaviors: The early school behavior scale. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 9, 32-44.

Cauce, A. M., Coronado, N., & Watson, J. (1998). Conceptual, methodological, and statistical issues in culturally competent research. In M. Hernandez & M. R. Isaacs (Eds.), Promoting cultural competence in children's mental health services. Systems of care for children's mental health (pp. 305-329). Baltimore: Brookes.

Cohen, J., & Cohen, P. (1983). Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral sciences (2nd ed. …