Do parenting and the home environment, maternal depression, neighborhood, and chronic poverty affect child behavioral problems differently in different racial-ethnic groups?

Lee M. Pachter, Peggy Auinger, Ray Palmer, Michael Weitzman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

117 Scopus citations

Abstract

OBJECTIVE. To determine whether the processes through which parenting practices, maternal depression, neighborhood, and chronic poverty affect child behavioral problems are similar or different in minority and nonminority children in the United States. METHODS. Data from 884 white, 538 black, and 404 Latino families with children who were 6 to 9 years of age in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth were analyzed. The outcome, child behavioral problems, was measured using the Behavior Problems Index externalizing and internalizing subscales. The effects of chronic poverty, neighborhood, maternal depression, and parenting on the outcome were analyzed using multigroup structural equation modeling. RESULTS. Chronic poverty affected child behavioral problems indirectly through the other variables, and parenting practices had direct effects in each racial/ethnic group. The effects of maternal depression were partially mediated through parenting in the white and Latino samples but were direct and unmediated through parenting practices in the black sample. Neighborhood effects were present in the white and black samples but were not significant for the Latino sample. CONCLUSIONS. Chronic poverty, neighborhood, maternal depression, and parenting practices have effects on child behavioral problems in white, black, and Latino children, but the processes and mechanisms through which they exert their effects differ among the groups. The differences may be related to social stratification mechanisms as well as sociocultural differences in family and childrearing practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1329-1338
Number of pages10
JournalPediatrics
Volume117
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Behavioral problems
  • Child behavior and development
  • Disparities
  • Maternal depression
  • Minority groups
  • Neighborhood effects
  • Parenting
  • Poverty
  • Racial/ethnic groups

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health

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