Although the effects of parenting styles have received much consideration in the research literature, less attention has been given to outcomes in emerging adults. Also, regional differences among areas of the United States may influence parents to use varying degrees of parenting practices such as affection and discipline. The current study investigated the differences in parenting in two geographically close yet distinct regions of the United States and the associated psychological outcomes in emerging adults. The sample was derived from two datasets: one consisting of participants predominantly from Southern states and one predominantly from Florida. The participants reported on maternal and paternal perceived parenting styles and discipline tactics as well as their own internalizing problems. Most notably, authoritative style of both parents shared a direct relationship with authoritarian style in the Southern sample, whereas this was an inverse relationship in the Florida sample. Maternal authoritarian parenting shared a negative relationship with internalizing symptoms in the Mississippi sample, whereas this relationship was positive in the Florida sample. Additionally, paternal permissive parenting shared a negative relationship with internalizing symptoms in the Florida sample, whereas no relationship was found in the Mississippi sample. For both samples, paternal, not maternal, corporal punishment and maternal, not paternal, psychological aggression were related positively to emerging adult internalizing problems. Overall, it was found that both parenting characteristics as well as associated outcomes differed by region, suggesting the need for increased awareness and sensitivity to these differences.
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C.M.: conceived of and designed the study, conducted analyses, assisted with the literature review, and wrote the discussion. K.B.: wrote the literature review and assisted with analyses and discussion.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
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. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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McKinney, C., Brown, K.R. Parenting and Emerging Adult Internalizing Problems: Regional Differences Suggest Southern Parenting Factor. J Child Fam Stud 26, 3156–3166 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-017-0749-x
- Emerging adulthood