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Effect of African- and European-American maternal attitudes and limit-setting strategies on children's self-regulation

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Abstract

The effect of maternal attitudes and limit-setting strategies on children's self-regulation (measured as committed compliance) was compared in 151 African-American (AA) and 108 European-American (EA) mothers and their 3-year-old children. There were no ethnic differences in children's compliance, however ethnicity moderated the relationship between maternal authoritarian attitudes and children's compliance. Higher authoritarian attitudes predicted less children's compliance in the EA sample, but greater compliance in the AA sample. Observational limit-setting data revealed that in both ethnic groups, maternal authoritarian attitudes influenced children's self-regulation through maternal use of lower-power (gentle) verbal strategies, fewer physical strategies, and judicious use of higher-power verbal strategies. The findings indicate that the meaning and purpose of authoritarian attitudes varies across these mothers' socio-cultural contexts. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Res Nurs Health 34:468–482, 2011

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