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Relationships Between Parenting Environment and Children's Mental Health Among African American and European American Mothers and Children



This study examined the relationship between aspects of the parenting environment and children's conduct problems and anxious symptoms among socioeconomically comparable samples of African American and European American mothers and their kindergarten children. Ethnic differences in parenting may lead to differences in the relationship between parenting and child outcomes. Thus, the moderating role of ethnicity for the relationships between parenting and children's mental health was tested. African American and European American parents were similar in their parenting practices. European American children reported a higher number of anxious symptoms, however. Parenting and family interaction patterns were associated with children's anxious symptoms and conduct problems. Although many relationships were similar across ethnic groups, there were ethnic differences in the relationships between maternal parenting efficacy and anxiety and between hostile control and conduct problems. These similarities and differences are discussed in light of theory and familial, cultural, and environmental niches.