Distinguishing between demographic and contextual factors linked to early childhood physical discipline and physical maltreatment among Black families.
Scott, J. C., & Pinderhughes, E. E. (2019). Distinguishing between demographic and contextual factors linked to early childhood physical discipline and physical maltreatment among Black families. Child Abuse & Neglect, 94, 104020.
Abstract: Background: Despite persistent discouragement from professionals, U.S. parents, especially Black parents, highly endorse physical discipline, which also is a risk factor for physical maltreatment. Few studies have examined physical discipline heterogeneity or maltreatment, and predictive demographic and contextual factors within the same population. Objective: This exploratory study aimed to identify subgroups of Black parents' use of early childhood physical discipline. It also examined whether demographic and contextual factors' relations with physical discipline were similar or different from those with physical maltreatment. Participants and setting: 310 Black parents from three geographically-distinct high-risk U.S. communities participated in home-based interview and survey data collection. Methods: We conducted latent class analyses to identify sub-groups among Black parents characterized by physical discipline frequency and type. Bolck, Croon, and Hagenaars’ method and binary logistic regression were conducted to examine relations between demographic and contextual factors (child gender, family income, marital status, parental education, family stress and perceived neighborhood safety), discipline and maltreatment. Results: Three physical discipline classes, which differed in frequency and type, were identified among Black parents. Only income was significantly related to both discipline (x2 = 18.97, p < .001) and maltreatment (OR = 1.03, p < .01). Child gender (x2 = 6.66, p < .01), never-married status (x2 = 13.94, p < .001), parental education (x2 = 10.32, p < .001), and neighborhood safety (x2 = 7.57, p < .01) also significantly related to discipline. Family stress was significantly related to physical maltreatment (OR = 1.42, p < .001). Conclusions: Differing demographic and contextual factor relations with physical discipline and maltreatment within a Black population should be considered when identifying parents at-risk.