• Neighborhood conditions, father involvement, parenting competence, and behavior problems in a sample of children at risk for neglect: A structural equation model

      Hayward, R. Anna; DePanfilis, Diane (2009)
      Internalizing and externalizing behaviors in children have been associated with continued patterns of anti-social behavior into adolescence and adulthood, including later risk for arrest (Patterson et al., 1992) and adult substance abuse (Ferdinand, Blum, & Verhulst, 2001). The primary aim of this dissertation was to broaden the understanding of neighborhood and family factors associated with child behavior problems in a sample of children residing in impoverished urban neighborhoods who were at risk for child neglect. This study used a cross sectional design to conduct secondary data analyses on 199 families who were served by the Family Connections program. The primary aim was to test a structural model explicating the relationships among neighborhood characteristics, perceived social capital, father involvement, parenting competence, and child behavior problems. Structural equation modeling (SEM) with robust maximum likelihood (MLM) estimation was used to test two structural regression models. Good model fit was obtained for both the internalizing behavior (Santorra-Bentler Scaled χ2= 57.9753 (df=30); χ2//df=1.9; RMSEA= .06; SRMR=.07; GFI=.94; NNFI=.91; CFI=.94) and externalizing behavior (Santorra-Bentler Scaled χ2= 58.8362 (df=30); χ2/df= 1.96; RMSEA= .06; SRMR=.07; GFI=.93; NNFI=.90; CFI=.93) models. Examination of path estimates revealed an indirect effect of neighborhood and social capital constructs on child behavior via parenting, but no direct effect of neighborhood or social capital on either internalizing or externalizing child behavior. Father involvement was not associated with parenting sense of competence but was related to externalizing behavior at a level that was statistically significant yet small in magnitude, and unrelated to child internalizing behavior in this analysis. The relationship between parenting competence and child behavior problems was significant for both models. This relationship was the largest in magnitude in the analysis. The combined effects of neighborhood conditions, social capital, father involvement, and parent competence for accounted for 24% (for internalizing) and 20% (for externalizing) of the variance with most of this observed effect deriving from the parenting construct.
    • Physical punishment as purposive behavior

      Schwermer, Jurgen Horst; Palley, Howard A. (1994)
      This dissertation examines the relationship between physical punishment and indices of family functioning as derived from the tenets of social exchange theory. There appear to be significant differences in the amount and severity of physical punishment parents mete out to their children. In a sample of 91 residents of a substance abuse treatment center surveyed via a questionnaire, with an average age of 32, 63 percent reported rare or no punishment, 22 percent reported being punished more than once a week or on a daily basis, with 15 percent indicating they were punished approximately once a week. Twenty-seven percent reported never being hit, 14 percent reported only being spanked, 42 percent reported being hit with an object and 17 percent reported being hit in the face and/or beaten by their parents/caretakers while they were between the ages of 6 and 18. Fifty-two percent of the sample indicated that alcohol or drug abuse had been a problem in their family of origin. However, the alcohol or other drug use and abuse by the parents, while the respondents were children, did not prove to have any significant relationship to the patterns of punishment. The parent's geographical and emotional closeness to grandparents and other relatives, their involvement in the community and the family economic status also had little significant predictive power. The manner in which parents valued their children, structured the family to facilitate democratic communication, shared power with their children and spent time with them involved in outside activities, all believed to be indicators of social exchange theory, did show significant relationships to the amount of total punishment as well as the severity of punishments respondents reported having experienced. Utilizing stepwise regression, social exchange theory variables accounted for over 34 percent of the variation in the severity of physical punishment.
    • A qualitative study of parenting by incest survivors

      O'Brien, Daryl Wardzinski; Belcher, John R. (1998)
      The devastating issue of childhood sexual abuse has been well documented in the literature. The vast majority of the research, however, has focused on an individualistic view of the victim, perpetrator, and non-offending spouse. The rationale for this study was based on the failure of the existing literature to address the relationships between members of the incestuous family system. In particular, the research is limited in its investigation of the role of the incest survivor as a parent. The purpose of this study was to systematically discover, describe, and analyze the beliefs, practices, and values of nine female incest survivors related to parenting. A qualitative methodology combined with symbolic interaction theory was used to describe the meaning of parenting in the lives of nine female incest survivors. Three rounds of semi-structured interviews were conducted. Interactions between the mother and child, the life experience of the mother that impacted on this relationship, and the behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs that developed were systematically explored. Three major themes were discovered that identified and explained the parenting role of the mother/survivor. These themes support the final hypothesis: The meaning attached to the abuse in the family of origin influences the parenting in the family of procreation. Incest survivors recognize what they do not want their parenting to be, however, because they have no model for healthy functioning there is difficulty implementing this desire in actual parenting situations. In an attempt to be a better parent, a deficit model is utilized which is more self-focused than child-focused. This study provided preliminary information that can be useful in understanding the transmission of child maltreatment across generations. These mothers indicated a desire to be better parents than their own parents were, however, it was in the application of parenting behaviors that difficulties continue. It was also evident that the sexual abuse was only part of their experience and that the unavailability of their own parents was most influential in showing them how to parent.