Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Alice S. Carter

Second Advisor

Abbey Eisenhower

Third Advisor

Jean Rhodes


Positive parenting in the school transition is associated with a number of indicators of school readiness, including strong social skills, low problem behavior, strong reading abilities, and strong mathematical abilities (Burchinal, Roberts, Zeisel, Hennon, & Hooper, 2006). A substantial body of work has been dedicated to understanding the behaviors that characterize parents' interactions with their children and the role of those behaviors in promoting desirable or undesirable child outcomes. Most research on parenting has used a variable-oriented approach, limiting analysis to one or a few parenting behaviors and failing to identify higher order interactions or patterns among variables. Thus, little is known about how different behaviors co-occur in individual parents to form styles of parenting or about how individual parenting behaviors function in the context of other parenting behaviors. Studies that have focused on the typological study of parenting--such as Baumrind's well-known work--have tended to focus on only a few aspects of parenting behavior. In this study, a person-oriented approach was used to develop a typology of maternal parenting styles based on a broad range of observed and self-reported parenting behaviors. Cluster analysis revealed six parenting groups, all of which differed significantly from other groups on parenting behaviors as well as on other parent, child, and family characteristics. The maternal parenting typology developed through this study provides useful information on the profiles of parenting behavior that are associated with the greatest risk of sub-optimal behavioral and cognitive development in children and identifies the demographic and psychological characteristics of parents who exhibit these profiles.


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