Identifying parenting practices important in the development of oppositional defiant behavior in an urban, racial and ethnic minority population
Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) is one of the most common childhood behavior disorders and a frequent reason for children’s and parent’s use of mental health services. Parenting plays a key role in the prevention and treatment of ODD. However, most research on parenting has been conducted with White, middle class families and may not apply universally to urban, racial-ethnic minority populations. Given that specific parenting practices related to the development of behavior problems may vary by population, the current study aims to assess how parenting practices as defined by community members in an ethnic minority, urban, and economically disadvantaged community relate to children’s behavior problems. Participants include 109 youth ages 9-15 and their 109 caregivers from an urban, racial-ethnic minority population. Caregivers completed ratings of their children’s behavior problems. Youth reported on a measure, “Showing Kids Love,” which included three subscales indicating if youth felt love from caregivers, if love was demonstrated to them, and if their father or a father figure was involved in their life. Regression analyses were conducted to determine how these three community-derived indicators of healthy parenting relate to children’s behavior problems. Decreases in youth feeling love were associated with significant increases in ODD symptoms. Increases in love being demonstrated to youth were associated with significant decreases in ODD symptoms. Increases in father or other father figure involvement were associated with decreases in ODD symptoms, though this relationship only approached statistical significance. Findings support the importance of youth receiving warmth and affection from caregivers and highlight the importance of community-based research. Future research should continue to use community-based research to evaluate how parenting practices influence children’s behavior problems.