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Cross Cultural Parenting

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Interest in cultural and ethnic differences in parenting practices has continued to grow as researchers and interventionists confront the increasing diversity in cultural backgrounds in the U.S. Although theoretical evidence would support differences in parenting and its association with family characteristics and child development, little empirical examinations have been conducted beyond comparisons of African American and European American families and then it has primarily focused only on harsh parenting. The goal of this study is to examine three aspects of parenting across five American cultural groups. Although many aspects of parenting are thought to have important implications for early development, the degree to which parents are harsh, sensitive/responsive, and/or provide for stimulation are thought to be critical for optimal child development and area that parents may be impacted by cultural pressures. Hypotheses include predictions of the universal association of some aspects of parenting, child development, and family characteristics; and expectations of cultural driven differences. The proposed study will reanalyze baseline data collected as part of the Starting Early, Starting Smart (SESS) multi-site study of young children. The SESS data set will allow the examination of a cohort of preschoolers to be studied from 3 to 6 years-of-age. Cultural groups (defined as self-reported membership) included African American (N = 967); European American (N = 426); American Indian (N = 95), Hispanic American (N = 251); and Asian American (N = 215). Using multivariate procedures (e.g. confirmatory factor analyses), the degree to which indicators measure similar constructs will be essential in the comparisons of mean level and correlational associations among parenting behaviors, child development, and other family characteristics.

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