This study examined maternal discipline and child behavior problems in 97 African American (AA) and 477 European American (EA) families. Frequency of use of positive verbal discipline, negative verbal discipline, non-physical discipline, and corporal punishment at first through third grades was predicted from race, family stress, socioeconomic status (SES), family composition, maternal age, child gender and kindergarten behavior problems. Family stress and kindergarten behavior problems were positively associated with all forms of discipline. SES was positively associated with positive and verbal discipline and negatively associated with corporal punishment. EA mothers reported more frequent use of positive and negative verbal discipline than AA mothers, but the groups did not differ in frequency of non-physical discipline. AA and EA mothers did not differ in frequency of spanking with hand, but AA mothers used spanking with an object more frequently. AA mothers reported using more severe forms of corporal punishment (i.e., spanking with objects or on bare skin) than EA mothers before target children entered kindergarten. After controlling for demographic variables and kindergarten behavior problems, maternal use of positive and negative verbal discipline at first through third grades was positively associated with mothers' concurrently rated child behavior problems in both AA and EA families. Non-physical discipline was positively associated with behavior problems for both races; however, non-physical discipline and behavior problems were negatively correlated for families with very high SES. There was no difference between AA and EA families in the positive relationship between spanking with hand and behavior problems as reported by mothers. However, spanking with an object was positively associated with mother-reported behavior problems in AA families, but not related in EA families. Spanking with hand was positively associated with teacher-reported child behavior problems for EA families, but negatively associated for AA families; however, both of these relationships were only marginally significant. Spanking with an object was not associated with teacher-reported child behavior problems for EA families, but was positively associated for AA families. The results do not support the theory that there is a different relationship between corporal punishment and child behavior problems for AA and EA families.
|Advisor:||Bates, John E.|
|Commitee:||Holtzworth-Munroe, Amy, Viken, Richard, West, Meredith|
|School Location:||United States -- Indiana|
|Source:||DAI-B 70/04, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Clinical psychology, Individual & family studies, Ethnic studies|
|Keywords:||Behavior, Corporal punishment, Discipline, Externalizing, Non-physical discipline, Race|
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