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Positive Parenting Among African American Mothers With a Serious Mental Illness

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Abstract

Positive parenting is hampered by social-contextual risks—lack of income, education, and support, as well as maternal mental illness—but current models do not examine the effect of each factor in concert with the others. Using structural equation modeling and a community sample (N= 202) of African American mothers diagnosed with depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia, we examined the direct and indirect effects of poverty, maternal education, social support, material and social stress, current mental health, and psychiatric history on positive parenting attitudes, involvement in children's education, and authoritative parenting style. The strongest predictors of parenting attitudes were stress and current mental health. Parenting attitudes were the strongest predictors of parent involvement and style but stress and current mental health were also predictive. Involvement was also predicted by maternal education and social support.

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