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01-04-2010 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 4/2010

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 4/2010

The Moderating Effects of Parenting Styles on African-American and Caucasian Children’s Suicidal Behaviors

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 4/2010
Auteurs:
Leilani Greening, Laura Stoppelbein, Aaron Luebbe

Abstract

Given that parenting practices have been linked to suicidal behavior in adolescence, examining the moderating effect of parenting styles on suicidal behavior early in development could offer potential insight into possible buffers as well as directions for suicide prevention and intervention later in adolescence. Hence, the moderating effects of parenting styles, including authoritarian, permissive, and features of authoritative parenting, on depressed and aggressive children’s suicidal behavior, including ideation and attempts, were evaluated with young children (N = 172; 72% male, 28% female) ranging from 6 to 12 years of age. African American (69%) and Caucasian (31%) children admitted for acute psychiatric inpatient care completed standardized measures of suicidal behavior, depressive symptoms, and proactive and reaction aggression. Their parents also completed standardized measures of parental distress and parenting style. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that, while statistically controlling for age and gender, children who endorsed more depressive symptoms or reactive aggression reported more current and past suicidal behavior than children who endorsed fewer depressive or aggressive symptoms. The significant positive relationship observed between depressive symptoms and childhood suicidal behavior, however, was attenuated by parental use of authoritarian parenting practices for African-American and older children but not for younger and Caucasian children. The ethnic/racial difference observed for the buffering effect of authoritarian parenting practices offers potential theoretical and clinical implications for conceptualizing the moderating effects of parenting styles on African-American and Caucasian children’s suicidal behavior.

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