Methods: This study utilizes data from behavioral assessments conducted at tree time points with a sample of Chilean adolescents from 2007-2012 (n = 1,076, 48% female) to examine the effects of three parenting dimensions such as family involvement, parental autonomy and control, and parental monitoring and neighborhood characteristics, including neighborhood levels of crime, and characteristics of the neighborhood physical environment obtained via systematic social observation, on adolescent internalizing and externalizing behaviors. At time 1 the mean age of the sample was 14.5 (SD = 1.5). Data from adolescent survey reports and systematic neighborhood assessments were used for analyses. Longitudinal multilevel modeling was used to carry out the analyses and account for the nested nature of the observations. We incorporated time-invariant neighborhood factors and time varying parenting dimensions. First, we examined the way in which parenting dimensions alone influenced adolescent internalizing and externalizing behavior. Second, we examined the associations between community level factors and adolescent internalizing and externalizing behavior. Lastly, we examined the associations between parenting behaviors and community level factors, simultaneously, with adolescent internalizing and externalizing behavioral outcomes.
Results: Parenting variables were stable over time and were significantly associated with adolescent externalizing and internalizing behaviors, even after controlling for numerous neighborhood variables. Similarly, all parenting dimensions remained significantly associated with adolescent internalizing and externalizing behavior in the full models with all neighborhood and parenting variables included. However, in the fully controlled model, neighborhood crime was significantly associated with externalizing behavior only. Higher scores on parental monitoring (𝛽 = -0.378, p < .001) and family involvement (𝛽 = -0.296, p < .001) were associated with lower externalizing behaviors and higher scores on parental control were associated with higher levels of adolescent externalizing behavior (𝛽 = 0.113, p < 0.01). All of the parenting dimensions were significantly associated with adolescent internalizing behavior (parental control: 𝛽 = -0.084, p < .05; parental monitoring: 𝛽 = -0.081, p < .05; family involvement: 𝛽 = -0.406, p< .001).
Implications: In this study of Latin American families, parenting was significantly associated with adolescent behavioral outcomes. We examined multiple dimensions of parenting (i.e., control, monitoring, and family involvement), which helps parse the influence of parenting on adolescent internalizing and externalizing behaviors among a Latin American population that has not been extensively studied. These findings can potentially contribute to the development of culturally appropriate parenting and family interventions in Latin America. Given the growing Latino population in the U.S., this study is informative to diversify research and understanding factors related to problem behaviors within Latino subgroups residing in the U.S.