Parenting values, attitudes, behaviors, and goals of African American mothers from a low-income population in relation to social and societal contexts

Ellen Abell, Mellisa Clawson, Wanda Newell Washington, Kelly K. Bost, Brian E. Vaughn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


There is broad consensus among family and child development researches that variations in parenting styles and practices contribute to individual differences along a range of child outcomes. Although the literature implies a continuum of parenting styles, research on ethnic minority and low-income families has often implied that these groups are homogeneous with respect to parenting practices and has compared them to standard samples (usually ethnic majority and middle class). In rejecting these assumptions, we examined the diversity of parenting styles in a sample of a low-income, African American families served by Head Start. Analyses revealed a range of child-rearing beliefs yielding discrete patterns of parenting that were distinguished in terms of beliefs about desirable child attributes and community-level attributes, and were associated with children's social competence. Findings suggest that crude group comparisons are inadequate to describe or explain the effects of parenting values and parent-child interactions in low-income, minority ethnic status samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)593-613
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1996


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