Supportive parenting, ecological context, and children’s adjustment: A seven-year longitudinal study.
Abstract: Two major questions regarding the possible impact of early supportive parenting (SP) on children's school adjustment were addressed: (1) Does SP assessed prekindergarten predict grade 6 adjustment after controlling for early harsh parenting (HP)? (2) Does SP moderate (buffer) the impact of early family adversity on grade 6 adjustment? Parenting and family adversity data were drawn from home-visit interviews with 585 mothers conducted prekindergarten. Four SP measures were derived: mother-to-child warmth, proactive teaching, inductive discipline, and positive involvement. HP was indexed as the use of harsh, physical discipline. Family adversity indicators were socioeconomic disadvantage, family stress, and single parenthood. Children's adjustment (behavior problems, social skills, and academic performance) in kindergarten and grade 6 was assessed via teacher ratings and school records. SP predicted adjustment in grade 6, even after controlling for kindergarten adjustment and HP. High levels of SP mitigated the effects of family adversity on later behavior problems. These findings implicate both direct (main effect) and indirect (moderator of adversity) processes in the linkage between positive and supportive aspects of parenting and children's school adjustment.