Advertisement

Violence Exposure and the Association Between Young African American Mothers' Discipline and Child Problem Behavior

  • Stephanie J. Mitchell
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to Stephanie J. Mitchell, PhD, Children's National Medical Center, Center for Clinical and Community Research, 111 Michigan Ave NW, Washington, DC 20010.
    Affiliations
    Center for Clinical and Community Research, Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC (Drs Mitchell, Lewin, Horn, and Joseph, and Ms Valentine), Department of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York (Dr Rasmussen), and Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, Howard University School of Medicine, Washington, DC (Dr Sanders-Phillips)
    Search for articles by this author
  • Amy Lewin
    Affiliations
    Center for Clinical and Community Research, Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC (Drs Mitchell, Lewin, Horn, and Joseph, and Ms Valentine), Department of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York (Dr Rasmussen), and Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, Howard University School of Medicine, Washington, DC (Dr Sanders-Phillips)
    Search for articles by this author
  • Ivor B. Horn
    Affiliations
    Center for Clinical and Community Research, Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC (Drs Mitchell, Lewin, Horn, and Joseph, and Ms Valentine), Department of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York (Dr Rasmussen), and Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, Howard University School of Medicine, Washington, DC (Dr Sanders-Phillips)
    Search for articles by this author
  • Andrew Rasmussen
    Affiliations
    Center for Clinical and Community Research, Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC (Drs Mitchell, Lewin, Horn, and Joseph, and Ms Valentine), Department of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York (Dr Rasmussen), and Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, Howard University School of Medicine, Washington, DC (Dr Sanders-Phillips)
    Search for articles by this author
  • Kathy Sanders-Phillips
    Affiliations
    Center for Clinical and Community Research, Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC (Drs Mitchell, Lewin, Horn, and Joseph, and Ms Valentine), Department of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York (Dr Rasmussen), and Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, Howard University School of Medicine, Washington, DC (Dr Sanders-Phillips)
    Search for articles by this author
  • Dawn Valentine
    Affiliations
    Center for Clinical and Community Research, Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC (Drs Mitchell, Lewin, Horn, and Joseph, and Ms Valentine), Department of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York (Dr Rasmussen), and Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, Howard University School of Medicine, Washington, DC (Dr Sanders-Phillips)
    Search for articles by this author
  • Jill G. Joseph
    Affiliations
    Center for Clinical and Community Research, Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC (Drs Mitchell, Lewin, Horn, and Joseph, and Ms Valentine), Department of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York (Dr Rasmussen), and Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, Howard University School of Medicine, Washington, DC (Dr Sanders-Phillips)
    Search for articles by this author
Published:March 31, 2009DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acap.2009.02.003

      Objective

      Children of adolescent mothers are at increased risk of violence exposure and behavior problems, which have been linked to mothers' disciplinary practices. This study examines how the effect of young African American mothers' discipline on their preschool-age children's externalizing and internalizing behavior varies by mother and child violence exposure.

      Methods

      A sample of 230 African American mothers who gave birth as adolescents and their 3- to 6-year-old children were recruited from community-based day care and primary health care sites in the Washington, DC, metropolitan region. In-person interviews were conducted by trained research assistants who administered standard survey instruments.

      Results

      Hierarchical regression models revealed an interaction effect such that adolescent mothers' harsh disciplinary practices, specifically physical discipline strategies, were positively associated with young children's internalizing and externalizing behavior in the context of high or moderate, but not low, maternal violence exposure.

      Conclusions

      Compared with less violence-exposed mothers, the harsh disciplinary practices of young African American mothers who have been exposed to high levels of violence are more strongly associated with their children's problem behavior. Practitioners should screen mothers for violence exposure in order to address potential issues of discipline and behavior problems.

      Key Words

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'

      Subscribe:

      Subscribe to Academic Pediatrics
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      References

        • Coley R.L.
        • Chase-Lansdale P.L.
        Adolescent pregnancy and parenthood: recent evidence and future directions.
        Am Psychol. 1998; 53: 152-166
        • Furstenburg F.F.
        • Brooks-Gunn J.
        • Morgan S.P.
        Adolescent Mothers in Later Life.
        Cambridge University Press, New York1987
        • Borkowski J.G.
        • Farris J.R.
        • Whitman T.L.
        • et al.
        Risk and Resilience: Adolescent Mothers and Their Children Grow Up.
        Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, NJ2007
        • Fergusson D.M.
        • Horwood L.J.
        • Ridder E.M.
        Show me the child at seven: the consequences of conduct problems in childhood for psychosocial functioning in adulthood.
        J Child Psychol Psychiatry. 2005; 46: 837-849
        • Fronstin P.
        • Greenberg D.H.
        • Robins P.K.
        The labor market consequences of childhood maladjustment.
        Soc Sci Q. 2005; 86: 1170-1195
        • Koenig A.L.
        • Ialongo N.
        • Wagner B.M.
        • et al.
        Negative caregiver strategies and psychopathology in urban, African-American young adults.
        Child Abuse Negl. 2002; 26: 1211-1233
        • Campbell S.B.
        • Pierce E.W.
        • Moore G.
        • et al.
        Boys' externalizing problems at elementary school age: pathways from early behavior problems, maternal control, and family stress.
        Dev Psychopathol. 1996; 8: 701-719
        • Deater-Deckard K.
        • Dodge K.A.
        Externalizing behavior problems and discipline revisited: nonlinear effects and variation by culture, context, and gender.
        Psychol Inq. 1997; 8: 161-175
        • Socolar R.R.S.
        • Winsor J.
        • Hunter W.M.
        • et al.
        Maternal disciplinary practices in an at-risk population.
        Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1999; 153: 927-934
        • Proctor L.J.
        Children growing up in a violent community: the role of the family.
        Aggress Violent Behav. 2006; 11: 558-576
        • Osofsky J.D.
        The impact of violence on children.
        Future Child. 1999; 9: 33-49
        • Dubowitz H.
        • Black M.M.
        • Kerr M.A.
        • et al.
        Type and timing of mothers' victimization: effects on mothers and children.
        Pediatrics. 2001; 107: 728-735
        • Linares L.O.
        • Heeren T.
        • Bronfman E.
        • et al.
        A mediational model for the impact of exposure to community violence on early child behavior problems.
        Child Dev. 2001; 72: 639-652
        • Shanifar A.
        • Fox N.A.
        • Leavitt L.A.
        Preschool children's exposure to violence: relation of behavior problems to parent and child report.
        Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2000; 70: 115-125
        • Ceballo R.
        • Ramirez C.
        • Hearn K.D.
        • Maltese K.L.
        Community violence and children's psychological well-being: does parental monitoring matter?.
        J Clin Child Adolesc Psychol. 2003; 32: 586-592
        • Krenichyn K.
        • Saegert S.
        • Evans G.W.
        Parents as moderators of psychological and physiological correlates of inner-city children's exposure to violence.
        J Appl Dev Psychol. 2001; 22: 581-602
        • Cicchetti D.
        • Lynch M.
        Toward an ecological/transactional model of community violence and child maltreatment: consequences for children's development.
        Psychiatry. 1993; 56: 96-118
        • Morrel T.M.
        • Dubowitz H.
        • Kerr M.A.
        • Black M.M.
        The effect of maternal victimization on children: a cross-informant study.
        J Fam Violence. 2003; 18: 29-41
        • Thompson J.
        Mothers' violence victimization and child behavior problems: examining the link.
        Am J Orthopsychiatry. 2007; 77: 306-315
        • Koverola C.
        • Papas M.A.
        • Pitts S.
        • et al.
        Longitunal investigation of the relationship among maternal victimization, depressive symptoms, social support, and children's behavior and development.
        J Interpers Violence. 2005; 20: 1523-1546
        • Deater-Deckard K.
        • Dodge K.A.
        • Bates J.E.
        • Bates G.S.
        Multiple risk factors in the development of externalizing behavior problems: group and individual differences.
        Dev Psychopathol. 1998; 10: 469-493
        • Joussemet M.
        • Vitaro F.
        • Barker E.D.
        • et al.
        Controlling parenting and physical aggression during elementary school.
        Child Dev. 2008; 79: 411-425
        • Webster-Stratton C.
        Preventing conduct problems in Head Start children: strengthening parenting competencies.
        J Consult Clin Psychol. 1998; 66: 715-730
      1. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Reported crime in the District of Columbia: through 2006. http://bjsdata.ojp.usdoj.gov/dataonline/search/crime.cfm. Accessed November 6, 2008.

        • Achenbach T.M.
        • Ruffle T.
        The Child Behavior Checklist and related forms assessing behavioral/emotional problems and competencies.
        Pediatr Rev. 2000; 21: 265-271
        • Richters J.E.
        • Saltzman W.
        Survey of Exposure to Community Violence: Self-Report Version.
        National Institute of Mental Health, Rockville, Md1990
        • Bornstein M.H.
        • Hahn C.
        • Suwalsky J.T.D.
        Socioeconomoic status, parenting, and child development: the Hollingshead Four-Factor Index of Social Status and the Socioeconomic Index of Occupations.
        in: Bornstein M.H. Bradley R.H. Socioeconomic Status, Parenting, and Child Development. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, NJ2003: 29-82
        • Jackson A.P.
        • Brooks-Gunn J.
        • Huang C.
        • Glassman M.
        Single mothers in low-wage jobs: financial strain, parenting, and preschoolers' outcomes.
        Child Dev. 2000; 71: 1409-1423
        • Baron R.M.
        • Kenny D.A.
        The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: conceptual, strategic, and statistical consideration.
        J Pers Soc Psychol. 1986; 51: 1173-1182
        • McKee L.
        • Roland E.
        • Coffelt N.
        • et al.
        Harsh discipline and child problem behavior: the roles of positive parenting and gender.
        J Fam Violence. 2007; 22: 187-196
        • Bremner J.D.
        • Vermetten E.
        • Vythilingam M.
        • et al.
        Neural correlates of the classic color and emotion stroop in women with abuse-related posttraumatic stress disorder.
        Biol Psychiatry. 2004; 55: 612-621
        • Bandura A.
        Social Learning Theory.
        General Learning Press, New York1977
        • Ceballo R.
        • McLoyd V.
        Social support and parenting in poor, dangerous neighborhoods.
        Child Dev. 2002; 73: 1310-1321
        • Patterson G.R.
        A performance theory for coercive family interaction.
        in: Cairns R. The Analysis of Social Interactions. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Hillsdale, NJ1979 (199–161)
        • Thomson C.C.
        • Roberts K.
        • Curran A.
        • et al.
        Caretaker-child concordance for child's exposure to violence in a preadolescent inner-city population.
        Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2002; 156: 818-823