Discipline responses: Direct and mediated influences of SES, ethnic group status, parenting beliefs, stress, and parent cognitive-emotional processes.
Pinderhughes, E. E., Zelli, A., Dodge, K. A., Bates, J. E., & Pettit, G. S. (2000). Discipline responses: Direct and mediated influences of SES, ethnic group status, parenting beliefs, stress, and parent cognitive-emotional processes. Journal of Family Psychology, 14, 380-400.
Direct and indirect precursors to parents' harsh discipline responses to hypothetical vignettes about child misbehavior were studied with data from 978 parents (59% mothers; 82% European American and 16% African American) of 585 kindergarten-aged children. SEM analyses showed that parents' beliefs about spanking and child aggression and family stress mediated a negative relation between socioeconomic status and discipline. In turn, perception of the child and cognitive-emotional processes (hostile attributions, emotional upset, worry about child's future, available alternative disciplinary strategies, and available preventive strategies) mediated the effect of stress on discipline. Similar relations between ethnicity and discipline were found (African Americans reported harsher discipline), especially among low-income parents. Societally based experiences may lead some parents to rely on accessible and coherent goals in their discipline, whereas others are more reactive.