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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Does interparent similarity matter? The associations of parents' attributions and parenting practices with child behaviour Park, Joanne Lee


Research on parenting stresses the importance of parent attributions and parenting practices. However, much of the literature has focused on the relationships between parent attributions, harsh/overreactive discipline, and child behaviour problems, and has for the most part neglected interrelations with lax/inconsistent parenting practices. Moreover, little is known about the linkages between mother and father attributions and parenting practices, and child behaviour problems within a family-systems context. The purpose of this thesis was, therefore, to examine whether mothers’ and fathers’ negative attributions are related to child behaviour problems and whether these relationships are mediated by mothers’ and fathers’ lax parenting practices. In addition, this thesis utilizes a family-systems perspective by examining interparent similarity of attributions and parenting practices and by considering each of the above variables within the context of both parents’ individual variables. A community sample of 148 couples and their 9- to 12-year-old child (50% boys) participated in the study. Mothers and their child participated by completing questionnaires, and by completing an observed laboratory interaction task. Fathers participated by completing the same questionnaires as mothers. Results showed that mothers’ attributions and lax parenting practices were significantly associated with child behaviour problems, with no mediation by lax parenting. However, the relationship between fathers’ attributions and child behaviour problems was mediated by fathers’ lax parenting. After controlling for the other parent, as well as interparent similarity of attributions and parenting practices, only mothers’ and fathers’ lax parenting were associated with child behaviour problems. When interparent similarity was examined categorically, fathers’ negative attributions and parenting practices appeared to be particularly important. These findings suggest that both parents play important roles, but that children may be particularly sensitive to fathers’ parenting.

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