Abstract: Maternal and paternal disciplinary style congruity as a predictor of children's behavioral problems (Society for Social Work and Research 14th Annual Conference: Social Work Research: A WORLD OF POSSIBILITIES)

12683 Maternal and paternal disciplinary style congruity as a predictor of children's behavioral problems

Saturday, January 16, 2010: 11:30 AM
Garden Room B (Hyatt Regency)
* noted as presenting author
Jinseok Kim, PhD , Seoul Women's University, Assistant Professor, Seoul, South Korea
Shawna J. Lee, PhD , Wayne State University, Assistant Professor, Detroit, MI
Catherine A. Taylor, PhD , Tulane University, Assistant Professor of Community Health Sciences, New Orleans, LA
Neil B. Guterman, PhD , University of Chicago, Professor, Chicago, IL
Background & Purpose: This study builds on previous research, currently in revision for publication, in which we use latent class analysis (LCA) to examine how fathers' aggressive and non-aggressive parenting behaviors are associated with child outcomes. In this study we use LCA to examine mothers' and fathers' disciplinary styles. For each parent, we separately identify their disciplinary style. Then, in a second-order LCA model, we examine the extent to which mothers and fathers are congruent in their disciplinary styles. We link congruent or incongruent parenting styles, assessed when a child is 3-years of age, to their behavior problems at 5-years of age.

Method: Participants were 1,308 mothers and fathers who participated in the FFCWS. We conducted latent class analysis (LCA) of the Parent-Child Conflict Tactics Scales (CTS-PC) to examine distinct maternal and paternal disciplinary styles toward their 3-year old. Items from the CTS-PC include taking away privileges, time out, swearing or cursing at the child, spanking, threatening to spank, shaking a child, slapping a child. We then conducted regression analysis to determine if disciplinary style congruence/ incongruence predicted child behavior problems at 3-years of age, assessed by the Child Behavior Checklist 1.5 5.

Results: LCA analyses confirmed four distinct parenting styles: low discipline (LD), mild aggression (MA), moderate physical aggression (MPA), and high psychological and physical aggression (HPPA). The four categories as described above worked equally well in describing the general parenting styles of parenting for both mothers' and fathers' parenting behaviors, although the percentage of parents in each category differed for mothers and fathers.

A subsequent second order LCA analysis identified four distinctive combined patterns of couples' parenting behavior:

1) MA(mother) - MA(father) (15%)

2) MA/MPA/LD(mother) - LD(father) (21%)

3) HPPA(mother) HPPA/MPA/LD(father) (16%)

4) MPA/HPPA(mother) - MPA/MA(father) (48%)

When examining parenting style separately, children of mothers or fathers in the LD group presented the lowest level of behavior problems, whereas children of mothers or fathers in HPPA group had the highest level of behavior problems. Analyses of the intersection of mothers' and fathers' parenting behavior pattern confirmed the trends found in the first-order LCA of individual parents: children have relatively fewer behavior problems when both parents using low discipline (LD(mother)-LD(father)) whereas children of parents in the high aggression group (HPPA(mother) HPPA/MPA/LD(father)) had the highest level of behavior problems.

Conclusions & Implications: By utilizing a risk profile approach we gain greater understanding of heterogeneity in parents' aggressive and non-aggressive disciplinary strategies, and how incongruity in disciplinary style relates to child behavioral problems. Few studies examine maternal and paternal overlap in disciplinary style, and in this study we find that in the majority of cases couples do not have identical parenting profiles. The descriptive nature of LCA allow us to understand how best to target interventions to different types of disciplinary styles; it also illuminates what combinations of disciplinary style present the most risk to children.