Although parenting is one of the most commonly studied predictors of child problem behavior, few studies have examined parenting as a multidimensional and dynamic construct. This study investigated different patterns of developmental trajectories of two parenting dimensions (harsh discipline [HD] and parental warmth [PW]) with a person-oriented approach and examined the associations between different parenting patterns and child externalizing problems and callous-unemotional traits. Data were drawn from the combined high-risk control and normative sample (n = 753) of the Fast Track Project. Parent-reported HD and observer-reported PW from kindergarten to grade 2 were fit to growth mixture models. Two subgroups were identified for HD (low decreasing, 83.0 %; high stable, 17.0 %) and PW (high increasing, 78.7 %; low increasing, 21.3 %). The majority of parents (67.0 %) demonstrated the low decreasing HD and high increasing PW pattern, while the prevalence of the high stable HD and low increasing PW pattern was the lowest (6.8 %). Parenting satisfaction, parental depression, family socioeconomic status, and neighborhood safety predicted group memberships jointly defined by the two dimensions. Children from the high stable HD and low increasing PW pattern showed the highest levels of externalizing problems in grades 4 and 5. Children from the low decreasing HD and low increasing PW pattern showed the highest levels of callous-unemotional traits in grade 7. These findings demonstrate the utility and significance of a person-oriented approach to measuring parenting as a multidimensional and dynamic construct and reveal the interplay between HD and PW in terms of their influences on child developmental outcomes.
Prevention Science – Springer Journals
Published: May 14, 2016
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