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INTRODUCTION Parents living in high-risk, low-income neighborhoods often have approaches to child rearing that are in contrast with traditional, middle-class parenting behavior (for reviews see Bornstein & Bradley, 2003; Hoff Ginsberg & Tardif, 1995;

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INTRODUCTION

Parents living in high-risk, low-income neighborhoods often have approaches to child rearing that are in contrast with

traditional, middle-class parenting behavior (for reviews see Bornstein & Bradley, 2003; Hoff Ginsberg & Tardif, 1995;

Magnuson & Duncan, 2002). It is often proposed that parents in high-risk settings behave in a harsher, more authoritarian

fashion towards their children because they maintain parenting values that emphasize obedience and conformity (Kohn,

1963; 1977; 1979; Luster, Rhoades, & Haas, 1989; Schaefer & Edgerton, 1985). However, there is little evidence actually

linking parenting values to corresponding parenting behaviors (Luster,Rhoades & Hass, 1989; Miller, 1988). The studies

that do exist have rarely examined parents of adolescents, and are typically limited by an exclusive reliance on self-reported

parenting. Thus, the current study utilized a sample of 177 young adolescents (83 males, 94 females; average age = 13

years) and their mothers to examine the links between mothers’ parenting values and both self-reported and observed

parenting behaviors. It was proposed that mothers’ parenting values – in particular, her valuing of conformity – would

mediate the link between neighborhood risk and parenting behavior.

RESULTS: EVIDENCE OF MEDIATION

Established mediation using the following 3 steps (Baron & Kenny, 1986).

STEP 1: Neighborhood risk was significantly positively associated with mothers’ valuing of conformity (r=.28***).

STEP 2: Neighborhood risk was significantly associated with each of the five parenting behaviors (s ranged from .15 for

mother reported psychological control to .20 for teen reported psychological control, all p<.05).

STEP 3: Entering mothers’ valuing of conformity into each regression equation caused the beta weight for neighborhood

risk to drop to below p<.05 in all 5 models, indicating full mediation in all cases.

MEASURES

Neighborhood Risk

Neighborhood Quality Questionnaire: mothers’ self-reports of the level of risk existing in their neighborhoods

Maternal Valuing of Conformity

Parenting Values Measure (Schaefer & Edgerton, 1985; Kohn, 1977): mothers’ self-reports of their values with regard to

their adolescent’s behavior

Self-Reported Parenting Behaviors

1. Psychological Control – Child Report of Parenting Behavior Inventory (Schaefer, 1965; Schluderman & Schluderman,

1970): adolescents’ and mothers’ reports of maternal psychological control.

2. Authoritarian Decision-Making – Parent-Child Conflict Questionnaire (Hetherington & Clingempeel, 1992; Steinberg,

1987; Dornbusch et.al, 1985): adolescents’ and mothers’ reports of mothers’ unilateral decision-making.

Observed Parenting Behaviors

1. Supportive Behavior – Supportive Behavior Coding System (Allen, Insabella, Hall, Marsh, & Porter, 1999): Valuing of

the other person, being engaged in the interaction, interpreting the adolescent’s problem, and adolescents’ satisfaction with

the interaction during a task in which adolescents asked mothers for help with a problem.

2. Positive Relatedness – Autonomy and Relatedness Coding System (Allen, Hauser, Bell, Boykin, & Tate, 1995):

Engagement in interaction and validating adolescents’ statements during a revealed differences task.

This study was supported by grants to Joseph P. Allen at the

University of Virginia from the National Institute of Mental

Health (R01-MH44934, R01-MH58066, and F31-

MH65711-01).

Maternal Childrearing Values: Mediating the Link Between Neighborhood Risk and Mother-Adolescent Relationship QualityKathleen Boykin McElhaney, Ph.D. Davidson College/University of Virginia

RESULTS: DIRECTION OF EFFECTS

Self-Reported Parenting Behaviors

1. When mothers valued conformity, their adolescents reported that they exercised more psychological control (Table 1).

Observed Parenting Behaviors

1. Mothers who valued conformity demonstrated less successful support during interactions with their teens (see Table 3).

2. Mothers who valued conformity also expressed fewer positive relationship behaviors while discussing a disagreement (see Table 4).

1 An interaction between gender and mothers’ parenting values in this model revealed that this effect was particularly pronounced for female adolescents (not depicted).

2. Mothers who valued conformity also reported exercising more psychological control as well as engaging in more authoritarian decision making (see Table 2).

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

These results suggest that parents who live in high risk settings place a high value on conformity, and that this parenting

value explains the association between neighborhood risk and a relatively harsh and authoritarian parenting style. More

specifically, mothers who valued conformity were rated as more psychologically controlling and did not involve their

adolescents in decision-making. Further, these mothers were observed to be less engaged, supportive and validating with

their adolescents, whether discussing a problem that the teen was having outside or within the mother-adolescent

relationship.

Finally, the results of this study suggest that a complete understanding of the effects of the neighborhood context on

family functioning requires a careful consideration of parenting values – and more specifically, how such values might

effect parenting behaviors.

Future research on this topic would benefit from examining how parenting values and their corresponding parenting

behaviors might interact over time to affect adolescents’ social and emotional development in both high and low-risk

settings.

REFERENCES

Allen, J. P., Hauser, S. T., Bell, K. L., Boykin, K. A., & Tate, D. C. (1995). Autonomy and relatedness coding system manual.

Allen, J. P., Insabella, G. M., Hall, F., Marsh, P., & Porter, M. R. (1999). Supportive behavior task coding manual. Unpublished manuscript, University of Virginia, Charlottesville.

Baron, R.M. & Kenny, D.A. (1986). The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 1173-1182.

Bornstein, M.H. & Bradley, R.H. (2003). Socioeconomic status, parenting and child development. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Dornbusch, S.M., Carlsmith, J.M., Bushwall, S.J., Ritter, P.L., Leiderman, H., Hastorf, A.H. & Gross, R.T. (1985). Single parents, extended households and the control of adolescents. Child Development, 56, 326-341.

Hoff-Ginsberg, E. & Tardif, T. (1995). Socioeconomic status and parenting. In M.H. Bornstein (Ed.) Handbook of Parenting: Vol. 2: Biology and Ecology (pp. 161-199). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Kohn, M.L. (1963). Social class and parent-child relationships: An interpretation. American Journal of Sociology, 68, 471-480.

Kohn, M.L. (1977). Class and conformity: A study of values (2nd ed). Chicago: University of Chicago.

Kohn, M.L. (1979). The effects of social class on parental values and practices. In D. Reiss and H.A. Hoffman (Eds.) The American Family: Dying or Developing. (pp.45-68). New York: Plenum Press.

Luster, T., Rhoades, K., & Haas, B. (1989). The relation between parental values and parenting behavior: A test of the Kohn hypothesis. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 51, 139-147.

Magnuson, K.A. & Duncan, G.J. (2002). Parents in poverty. In M.H. Borstein (Ed.) Handbook of parenting: Vol. 4: Social conditions and applied parenting (pp. 95-121). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum

Miller, S.A. (1988). Parents’ beliefs about children’s cognitive development. Child Development, 59, 259-285.

Schaefer, E.D. (1965). Children’s reports of parental behavior: An inventory. Child Development, 36, 413-424.

Schaefer, E.S. & Edgerton, M. (1985). Parent and child correlates of parental modernity. In I.E. Sigel (Ed.) Parental belief systems: The psychological consequences for children. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Schluderman, E. & Schluderman, S. (1970). Replicability of factors in children’s reports of parent behavior (CRPBI). Journal of Psychology, 76, 239-249.

Steinberg, L. (1987). The impact of puberty on family relations: Effects of pubertal status and pubertal timing. Developmental Psychology, 23, 451-460.