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Evaluating Parental Stress and Parental Disciplinary Styles as Predictors of Child Maladaptive Behavior
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by Craig I. Springer - New York University
This study examined the relation between parental disciplinary styles, parental stress, and child behavior. Seventy-seven mothers and their children, ages 4 through 12, were recruited from Coney Island Hospital's outpatient pediatric clinic in New York City. Mothers were administered the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL; Achenbach & Edelbrock, 1981), the Styles of Parental Discipline Scale (SPDS; Eisman, 1995), and the Parenting Stress Index (PSI; Abidin, 1995). Children were administered selected cards of the Holtzman Inkblot Test (HIT; Holtzman, Thorpe, Swartz, & Heron, 1976) scored for hostility and anxiety and the Springer Child Aggression Inventory (SCAI; Springer, 1996). The author sought to determine whether (a) parental disciplinary styles are related to child behavior, (b) parental disciplinary styles are related to parental stressors, and (c) parental stress levels are related to child behavior. Results indicate that authoritarian and permissive disciplinary styles are related to child maladaptive behaviors; parental stress was associated with permissive disciplinary style and with internal as well as external behavioral problems. Parental stress was not found to be associated with authoritarian disciplinary style.