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Parental Mood, Parenting Style and Child Emotional and Behavioural Adjustment: Australia-Indonesia Cross-Cultural Study

Abstract

Extensive research, in Western countries, links parental mood and parenting styles with child outcomes including emotional and behavioural adjustment. However, the effects of cultural differences, particularly between Australia and Indonesia on such linkages have not been adequately addressed in the existing literature. This cross-cultural study aims to examine the relationship between perceived parental mood, parenting styles, and child emotional and behavioural adjustment among both Australian and Indonesian parents. Using an online survey, a total of 436 parents (125 Australian and 311 Indonesian parents) with at least one typically developing child between the age of 3 and 9 years participated in this descriptive, exploratory study. Results indicated that in comparison to Australian parents, Indonesian participants reported greater anxiety symptoms, lower levels of depression, and more use of an authoritarian style in parenting. Similar patterns in the associations of observed variables were found between different cultural groups. High levels of parental stress and less use of authoritative parenting were revealed to be predictors of child emotional and behavioural problems while the authoritative parenting style was the predictor for child competencies within both cultures. This study provides evidence for the inconsistency between cultural preference in parenting style and the predicted factors for child outcomes.

Highlights

  • This is one of the few studies that directly compares parenting across a Western (Australian) and an Asian (Indonesian) culture.

  • Despite cultural differences, the high use of authoritative parenting and low use of authoritarian parenting styles were associated with higher child competencies in both Australia and Indonesia parenting.

  • Indonesian parents were more likely to use authoritarian parenting than Australian parents but also reported lower levels of depressive symptomatology. This suggests a cultural difference in the association between parenting style and depressive symptoms.

  • Parent’s poor parental moods (depression and anxiety) are consistently associated with parenting styles and child adjustment within Western cultures; however, the links are less clear for Asian countries potentially due to cultural acceptance of and high use of authoritarian parenting.

  • Culturally differences and norms play a role in parenting.

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All authors of this revised research paper have directly participated in the planning, execution, or analysis of this study. All authors of this revised paper have read and approved the revised manuscript submitted.

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Correspondence to Yulina E. Riany.

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Riany, Y.E., Haslam, D.M. & Sanders, M. Parental Mood, Parenting Style and Child Emotional and Behavioural Adjustment: Australia-Indonesia Cross-Cultural Study. J Child Fam Stud (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-021-02137-5

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Keywords

  • Parenting style
  • Parental mood
  • Child maladjustment
  • Cross-cultural study
  • Child competencies