Longitudinal Associations Between Parenting and Youth Adjustment in Twelve Cultural Groups: Cultural Normativeness of Parenting as a Moderator

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Abstract

To examine whether the cultural normativeness of parents’ beliefs and behaviors moderates the links between those beliefs and behaviors and youths’ adjustment, mothers, fathers, and children (N = 1,298 families) from 12 cultural groups in 9 countries (China, Colombia, Italy, Jordan, Kenya, Philippines, Sweden, Thailand, and the United States) were interviewed when children were, on average, 10 years old and again when children were 12 years old. Multilevel models examined 5 aspects of parenting (expectations regarding family obligations, monitoring, psychological control, behavioral control, warmth/affection) in relation to 5 aspects of youth adjustment (social competence, prosocial behavior, academic achievement, externalizing behavior, internalizing behavior). Interactions between family level and culture-level predictors were tested to examine whether cultural normativeness of parenting behaviors moderated the link between those behaviors and children’s adjustment. More evidence was found for within- than between-culture differences in parenting predictors of youth adjustment. In 7 of the 8 instances in which cultural normativeness was found to moderate the link between parenting and youth adjustment, the link between a particular parenting behavior and youth adjustment was magnified in cultural contexts in which the parenting behavior was more normative.

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