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25-01-2019 | Original Paper | Uitgave 4/2019

Journal of Child and Family Studies 4/2019

Preliminary Support for the Theory of Planned Behavior in Pre-Parent Discipline Intentions

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 4/2019
Tabitha C. Fleming, Joaquín Borrego Jr.
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Aggressive discipline is associated with a host of negative outcomes for children, while instilling positive discipline is a point of intervention in parent-child dyads. These practices may arise from the intergenerational transmission of parenting beliefs and subsequent practices. Specifically, this transmission involves individuals adopting accepting views of their disciplinary experiences, whether they were positive or negative. Although many studies of this phenomenon focus on current parents, research supports that these beliefs are evident prior to parenthood. The aim of this study was to investigate whether discipline acceptability affects the relationship between discipline experiences and the likelihood of using discipline strategies in the future in pre-parent undergraduate students.


This pathway was assessed with a nonparametric bootstrapping procedure in the domains of both positive and aggressive discipline strategies. Participants (N  = 171, ages 17–26 years) completed the Dimensions of Discipline Inventory – Adult Recall and other measures online via a Qualtrics survey.


The results demonstrated that discipline experiences may affect discipline intent indirectly through discipline acceptability for both positive and aggressive discipline strategies.


This provides preliminary support of the Theory of Planned Behavior as applied to parental constructs prior to parenthood. This also informs the theory of intergenerational transmission and may suggest targets of negative parenting prevention to research in pre-parent populations.

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