The Contribution of Parenting

From epidemiological studies of children raised in war zones, there is evidence that maternal reports of responsive parenting moderate the effect of exposure to war events (Punamaki, Quota, & El Sarraj,

1997). Although responsive parenting is thought to play a crucial role in the successful adaptation of children to conditions of chronic violence and dangerous neighborhoods (Garbarino, Kostelny, & Dubrow, 1991), to our knowledge, no prior study of exposure to community violence had examined, directly, the contribution of parenting behavior, i.e., mother-child interaction, on preschool problems. The parenting role is important to consider because there is substantial evidence that chronic

Figure 22.2 Final Community Violence Model. Note: Numbers represent standardized path coefficients. Depicted arrows represent significant associations using SEM methodology.

stressful life conditions are linked to adverse child outcomes by diminishing positive interactions and increasing parental coercive behavior (Patterson, 1983; Patterson, DeBaryshe, & Ramsey, 1989). Two orthogonal dimensions of parenting (positive and negative) are considered because these dimensions have been found to differentially predict child behavior. For example, harsh parenting predicted child aggression, but not social competence among dyads exposed to inner-city violence in New York City (Krenichyn, Saegert, & Evans, 2001). Based on normative parenting literature, we anticipated that positive parenting (i.e., noncontrolling, involved, warm mother-child interactions) contributes to fewer behavior problems, while negative parenting (i.e., controlling, uninvolved, angry mother-child interactions) contributes to more behavior problems. In regard to the association between exposure to community violence and parenting, we expected that mothers exposed to low levels of community violence would show more positive parenting and less negative parenting than mothers exposed to high levels of community violence.

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