Parent Behavior and Child Adjustment Across Cultures


Principal Investigator: JENNIFER LANSFORD
Affiliation: Duke University Medical Center
Country: USA
Abstract: This study addresses how parents'discipline strategies affect children's development. The first and second aims are to examine whether the association between harsh discipline and child adjustment is moderated by: 1) the normativeness of the discipline method as indicated by cultural acceptance of its use, and 2) the affective quality of the parent-child relationship. We hypothesize that under conditions of cultural normativeness and warmth within the parent-child relationship, there is a weaker association between harsh discipline and children's adjustment difficulties. The third aim is to examine whether the association between harsh discipline and children's adjustment difficulties is mediated by children's cognitive appraisals regarding the discipline. The way children interpret a discipline practice is hypothesized to explain, in part, the link between discipline and children's adjustment. As part of understanding children's interpretations of discipline practices, we will try to "unpack" culture into measurable contextual components and to understand specific characteristics of culture (e.g., beliefs, values) that affect parenting practices and children's interpretations of them. We will collect and analyze data in 8 countries (i.e., China, India, Italy, Kenya, Philippines, Sweden, Thailand, United States) and subgroups within these countries. Each country has been selected because of its potential to provide a unique contribution to understanding how parents'discipline behaviors affect children's adjustment. Structured interviews will be conducted with 100 children and their mothers and fathers in each cultural group. Longitudinal follow-up will occur 12 months and 24 months after the initial assessment. Analyses will be conducted through structural equation modeling and multilevel modeling in which measurement occasions are nested within families, which are nested within cultures. Findings regarding mechanisms through which parenting affects children's adjustment will have public health implications because of their potential to influence interventions designed to prevent adjustment problems, especially in maltreated and other high-risk groups. Understanding how parents'discipline practices relate to children's adjustment from multiple cultural perspectives has the potential to inform applications of developmental psychology in law, policy, and intervention.
Funding Period: ----------------2007 - ---------------2012-
more information: NIH RePORT