Latina Mothers and Child Externalizing Behavior Problems: Examining the Role of Cultural Factors and Parenting

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Latino/a families in the U.S. often face challenges that might put children at increased risk of experiencing behavior problems. Stressors associated to the acculturation process can contribute to higher rates of behavior problems in Latino/a children. Parenting styles have been associated with child externalizing behaviors, with authoritarian and authoritative parenting receiving the most attention when examining child mental health. However, the relationship between authoritarian and authoritative parenting styles and child externalizing behavior problems has rarely been studied with Latino/a families, and little is known regarding the impact of acculturative stress, acculturation, and enculturation on parenting in this population. The purpose of this study was to evaluate two models examining the potential mediating role of authoritarian and authoritative parenting between maternal cultural processes and child externalizing behavior problems. Additionally, the study examined the potential moderating effect of parenting styles on the relationship between acculturative stress and child externalizing behavior problems. Results indicated that although authoritarian parenting predicted externalizing behavior problems, acculturative stress, acculturation and enculturation were not related to authoritarian parenting. Results also indicated that authoritative parenting, enculturation, and acculturative stress did not have a significant relationship with externalizing behavior problems. Acculturation had a positive relationship with authoritative parenting suggesting that more acculturated mothers also reported higher authoritative parenting. The indirect effects through authoritarian and authoritative parenting, were nonsignificant. Methodological and clinical implications of these results are discussed as well as limitations and future directions for research.

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Externalizing Behavior Problems, Parenting, Acculturative Stress, Acculturation