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Positive parenting attitudes and practices in three transitional Eastern European countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Serbia



To identify potential predictors of using only non-violent forms of discipline for children aged 2–14 years and of being against physical punishment among Roma and non-Roma parents/caregivers in Eastern European countries with similar cultural-historical backgrounds.


UNICEF Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey data collected in 2010–2011 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Serbia (total of 9973 respondents) were analysed using multivariate logistic regression modelling with receiver operating characteristic analysis.


Approximately 27 % of the respondents practiced only non-violent child discipline. Roma children experienced only non-violent discipline less than half as often as their non-Roma counterparts. Household wealth index and child sex were significant predictors of positive parenting attitudes and practice. For Roma respondents, rural residence also contributed to being against physical punishment.


Parents\caregivers from more affluent households are more likely than those who are less affluent to be against physical punishment of children and are more likely to practice only non-violent discipline. Evidence-based interventions are required to support existing positive forms of child rearing. These should target less affluent households from Roma settlements in the studied countries.

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The authors are grateful to UNICEF for the provision of the MICS databases. The author was supported by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology Development of the Republic of Serbia (Grant No. 175087).

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Correspondence to Marija Petrovic.

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Petrovic, M., Vasic, V., Petrovic, O. et al. Positive parenting attitudes and practices in three transitional Eastern European countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Serbia. Int J Public Health 61, 621–630 (2016).

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  • Sociodemographic characteristics
  • Child disciplining, violence
  • Roma settlements, Eastern Europe