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27-07-2018 | Original Paper | Uitgave 11/2018

Journal of Child and Family Studies 11/2018

Perceptions of Differential Parenting between Southern United States Mothers and Fathers

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 11/2018
Cliff McKinney, Melanie Stearns, Mary M. Rogers


Little research has examined how parenting practices may differ in various regions of the United States, specifically the South. The current study used a Southern United States sample to replicate prior research done in Central Florida, a proximal yet distinct region. Participants included 4900 emerging adults attending a Southern United States university who were aged 18 to 25 years (M= 18.87; SD = 1.22) and identified themselves as female (66.6%), male (33.4%), Caucasian (74.8%), African American (20.2%), Asian (1.9%), Latino (1.2%), or Other (1.9%). Participants answered questionnaires regarding their perceptions of maternal and paternal parenting styles and their own internalizing and externalizing problems using an online survey. Results indicated that perceptions of parenting style across region varied as a function of parent gender, such that parents, particularly mothers, were more authoritarian in the Southern sample. Moreover, latent profile analysis produced two perceived mother–father dyad parenting profiles: (1) congruent maternal and paternal parenting style and (2) a high authoritative and authoritarian mother coupled with an extremely high authoritarian and authoritative father. Emerging adults, especially males, reported higher externalizing problems in profile 1 and internalizing problems showed the same non-significant trend. The combination of high perceived authoritative and authoritarian styles found in profile 2 along with lower associated externalizing problems strongly suggests that context plays a significant role in how parenting is associated with outcomes.

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