Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 26, Issue 11, pp 3237–3245 | Cite as

Mediators between Parenting History and Expected At-Risk Parenting: Role of Conformity, Coping, and Attitudes

  • Shilpa Boppana
  • Christina M. RodriguezEmail author
Original Paper


The current study used a multimethod approach to consider potential mediators and moderators of the relationship between harsh, authoritarian parenting history and future at-risk parenting defined as child abuse potential and authoritarian parenting. The study involved 114 childless undergraduate students, a group that could represent a potential target group for child abuse prevention efforts. The role of coping, conformity, and attitudes towards harsh discipline were evaluated and considered as potential moderators or mediators of future at-risk parenting. Attitudes that approve of parent-child aggression and greater conformity were found to partially mediate the relationship between a history of authoritarian parenting and future at-risk parenting. In other words, approval of parent-child aggression and an inclination to be more socially conformist partly explained the relationship between a history of harsh, authoritarian discipline as children and whether participants expected to become harsh parents. However, neither greater coping skill nor lower conformity moderated the association between parenting history and at-risk parenting. This study implies that altering the acceptability of parent-child aggression could serve as an important prevention target in pre-parents to minimize the likelihood of adopting at-risk parenting practices. Additionally, the role of social conformity in at-risk parenting warrants further investigation given the current findings suggest that part of why one may later assume a harsh at-risk parenting approach reflects embracing a conformist style.


Child abuse potential Child maltreatment Parenting history Physical discipline approval Coping skill Conformity 


Author Contributions

S.B. collaborated with designing the study, executing the study, and writing the manuscript. C.M. collaborated with designing the study, executing the study, analyzing data, and writing and editing the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all study participants.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MississippiOxfordUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Alabama at BirminghamBirminghamUSA

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