Maternal control and children’s internalizing and externalizing symptoms in the context of neighbourhood safety: moderating and mediating models
While there are strong associations between parenting and children’s well-being, it is important to understand these relations in different home environments. This study examined relations of two parenting dimensions previously examined as parental control, controllingness and structure, and child symptomatology with regard to neighbourhood safety. It explored the dangerous neighbourhood hypothesis, suggesting that parents should exert more control in less safe and less control in safer contexts, and a neighbourhood stress hypothesis in which less safe neighbourhoods undermine adaptive parenting and increase child symptomatology. 213 mothers and their sixth-grade children (Mean age = 11 years) participated. Mothers completed questionnaires measuring neighbourhood safety and children’s internalizing and externalizing symptoms, and children completed measures of maternal controllingness and structure provision, and their own internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Maternal controllingness was associated with more and maternal structure with fewer child symptoms. Controllingness was associated with greater child-reported depression in less but not more safe neighbourhoods. Mediation analyses suggested that lower neighbourhood safety was associated with more controllingness which was associated with children’s reports of depression and hostility. Results did not support the dangerous neighbourhood hypothesis, but suggest that less safe neighbourhoods may challenge mothers’ abilities to parent in a way that prevents symptomatology in children.
Journal of Family Studies
Levitt, Madeline R.; Grolnick, Wendy S.; and Raftery-Helmer, Jacquelyn N., "Maternal control and children’s internalizing and externalizing symptoms in the context of neighbourhood safety: moderating and mediating models" (2022). Psychology. 445.