Ecological Predictors of Disciplinary Style and Child Abuse Potential in a Hispanic and Anglo-American Sample

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Recent attention to multicultural issues has sparked recognition that parenting is also a culturally construed phenomenon. The present study involved a diverse sample of 90 Anglo-American and Hispanic parents examining predictors based on distal/proximal levels as conceptualized in the ecological model. The study examined background characteristics (e.g., minority status, educational level, income), intrapersonal (anger, parenting competence, parenting satisfaction), and extrapersonal (social support) factors in the prediction of child abuse potential and dysfunctional disciplinary style. Parents participated anonymously in an in-home assessment. Neither minority status nor income predicted abuse potential or parenting style beyond what was accounted for by educational level. The pattern of findings for the sample suggests the relative importance of anger expression, parenting self-efficacy, and social support satisfaction in both abuse potential and disciplinary style for both Hispanic and Anglo-American parents. Future research directions with diverse samples are considered, including the need for measures specifically designed to assess parenting issues in diverse cultural groups.

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