Journal of Family Violence

, 26:527 | Cite as

The Relation of Harsh and Permissive Discipline with Child Disruptive Behaviors: Does Child Gender Make a Difference in an At-Risk Sample?

  • Justin Parent
  • Rex ForehandEmail author
  • Mary Jane Merchant
  • Mark C. Edwards
  • Nicola A. Conners-Burrow
  • Nicholas Long
  • Deborah J. Jones
Original Article


The role of parenting in child disruptive behaviors has received substantial support; however, the findings as to differential effects of specific parenting behaviors (e.g., discipline) on boys’ and girls’ disruptive behavior problems have not been consistent. The current study examined the individual, unique, and interactive relation of two types of ineffective discipline (i.e., harsh & permissive) with child disruptive behavior for at-risk boys and girls separately. Participants were 160 parents with 3- to 6-year-old at-risk children (47.5% girls). Findings revealed that higher levels of harsh discipline were related to more intense disruptive behavior of both boys and girls, whereas higher levels of permissive discipline were related to more intense disruptive behavior of only boys. Additionally, results indicated that harsh and permissive discipline did not interact to predict child disruptive behavior problems. Clinical implications and directions for future research are discussed.


Harsh discipline Permissive discipline Child disruptive behavior Parenting 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Justin Parent
    • 1
  • Rex Forehand
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mary Jane Merchant
    • 1
  • Mark C. Edwards
    • 2
  • Nicola A. Conners-Burrow
    • 2
  • Nicholas Long
    • 2
  • Deborah J. Jones
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of VermontBurlingtonUSA
  2. 2.University of Arkansas for Medical SciencesLittle RockUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUNC-CHChapel HillUSA

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