Mediators between Parenting History and Expected At-Risk Parenting: Role of Conformity, Coping, and Attitudes

Academic Article


  • The current study used a multimethod approach to consider potential mediators and moderators of the relationship between harsh, authoritarian parenting history and future at-risk parenting defined as child abuse potential and authoritarian parenting. The study involved 114 childless undergraduate students, a group that could represent a potential target group for child abuse prevention efforts. The role of coping, conformity, and attitudes towards harsh discipline were evaluated and considered as potential moderators or mediators of future at-risk parenting. Attitudes that approve of parent-child aggression and greater conformity were found to partially mediate the relationship between a history of authoritarian parenting and future at-risk parenting. In other words, approval of parent-child aggression and an inclination to be more socially conformist partly explained the relationship between a history of harsh, authoritarian discipline as children and whether participants expected to become harsh parents. However, neither greater coping skill nor lower conformity moderated the association between parenting history and at-risk parenting. This study implies that altering the acceptability of parent-child aggression could serve as an important prevention target in pre-parents to minimize the likelihood of adopting at-risk parenting practices. Additionally, the role of social conformity in at-risk parenting warrants further investigation given the current findings suggest that part of why one may later assume a harsh at-risk parenting approach reflects embracing a conformist style.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Boppana S; Rodriguez CM
  • Start Page

  • 3237
  • End Page

  • 3245
  • Volume

  • 26
  • Issue

  • 11