Graduation Year

2007

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Psychology

Major Professor

Vicky Phares, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Judith Bryant, Ph.D.

Committee Member

J. Kevin Thompson, Ph.D.

Keywords

Ethnicity, Males, Females, Psychological Symptoms, Schools

Abstract

The present study compared children's perceptions of mothers' and fathers' parental rearing styles in White and Hispanic families. Participants included 173 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade children recruited from after-school care programs in the School District of Hillsborough County, Florida. Children completed measures of perceived parenting for both mothers and fathers and a self-report inventory of their own current psychological symptoms. No differences between perceptions of parental acceptance in Hispanic and White families were expected. However, perceptions of hostile control were predicted to be higher for Hispanic fathers than for White fathers. In contrast, perceptions of maternal inconsistent discipline were hypothesized to be higher for Hispanic mothers than for White mothers. Ethnicity was hypothesized to act as a moderator between perceptions of negative parenting and internalizing and externalizing symptomology. Results indicated that there were few differences in parenting practices between White and Hispanic mothers and fathers. Only perceptions of maternal hostile control were higher for Hispanic participants in comparison to White participants when family socioeconomic status was not controlled statistically. Maladaptive parental rearing behaviors were more associated with children's internalizing than externalizing symptomology. These results indicate that Hispanic and White families are more similar in parental rearing styles than theorized originally. For fathers in particular, an emergent view of fatherhood in Hispanic families was supported. Results are discussed in terms of parenting in diverse families.

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