Research Publication Title

Parental Attributions and Disciplinary Styles in Relation to Child Anxiousness

Major

Psychology

Faculty Mentor

Tsu-Ming Chiang

Keywords

Psychology, Attributions, Disciplinary Styles, Child Anxiousness, Developmental

Abstract

Parent-child relationships are important in understanding children’s behaviors. Research has shown that parental attributions may affect why children misbehave and the type of disciplinary actions a child receives. Furthermore, the type of discipline utilized by parents influences children’s behaviors. Jacobs, Woolfson & Hunter (2016) found that parental tendency to classify their children’s behavior as either caused by internal or external attributes, as well as stable or unstable characteristics, affect the disciplinary strategies they use with the child. An internal stable attribution, which blames the child’s disposition or intention, is more likely to produce negative emotions toward the child, and can lead to higher use of physical punishment, and lack of belief that the child is capable of improving their behaviors. A study has shown that maternal over-involvement and inconsistent paternal discipline were significantly associated with the presence of anxiety disorders (Otto et al., 2015). Therefore, the present study is aimed at examining the relationships of parental attributions, parental disciplinary styles, and anxiousness in children. Furthermore, family socioeconomic status (SES) is included to compare children from two programs – Head-Start children, with parents of lower socioeconomic status, and Montessori children, with parents of higher socioeconomic status. Specifically we are looking at how parental attributions differ between SES groups and how these attributions affect child behavior at school. More than forty children with ages between 3 and 5 are being assessed in a larger study. Parents completed a survey to report their child-rearing beliefs and practices. Teachers are asked to rate children’s social emotional behaviors at schools by completing Social Emotional Behavioral Evaluations (LaFreniere and Dumas, 1995). Data is being collected from both Montessori and Head Start. Parents who made internal stable attributions are expected to have children who display more anxious behaviors. Final results and implications will be presented at the conference.

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Parental Attributions and Disciplinary Styles in Relation to Child Anxiousness

Parent-child relationships are important in understanding children’s behaviors. Research has shown that parental attributions may affect why children misbehave and the type of disciplinary actions a child receives. Furthermore, the type of discipline utilized by parents influences children’s behaviors. Jacobs, Woolfson & Hunter (2016) found that parental tendency to classify their children’s behavior as either caused by internal or external attributes, as well as stable or unstable characteristics, affect the disciplinary strategies they use with the child. An internal stable attribution, which blames the child’s disposition or intention, is more likely to produce negative emotions toward the child, and can lead to higher use of physical punishment, and lack of belief that the child is capable of improving their behaviors. A study has shown that maternal over-involvement and inconsistent paternal discipline were significantly associated with the presence of anxiety disorders (Otto et al., 2015). Therefore, the present study is aimed at examining the relationships of parental attributions, parental disciplinary styles, and anxiousness in children. Furthermore, family socioeconomic status (SES) is included to compare children from two programs – Head-Start children, with parents of lower socioeconomic status, and Montessori children, with parents of higher socioeconomic status. Specifically we are looking at how parental attributions differ between SES groups and how these attributions affect child behavior at school. More than forty children with ages between 3 and 5 are being assessed in a larger study. Parents completed a survey to report their child-rearing beliefs and practices. Teachers are asked to rate children’s social emotional behaviors at schools by completing Social Emotional Behavioral Evaluations (LaFreniere and Dumas, 1995). Data is being collected from both Montessori and Head Start. Parents who made internal stable attributions are expected to have children who display more anxious behaviors. Final results and implications will be presented at the conference.