Parenting in a conflict-affected setting: Discipline practices, parent-child interactions, and parenting stress in Liberia.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Children in conflict-affected settings are at increased risk for exposure to violence, placing particular importance on caregiving environments. This study first describes parenting in urban Liberia by evaluating parent-child interactions, the use and acceptance of harsh and nonharsh discipline, discipline preferences, and the co-occurrence of positive interactions and harsh discipline. The relationship between parenting stress and harsh discipline attitudes and behaviors is then tested. Participants included 813 parents with a child aged 3 or 4 years old. A quantitative survey battery assessed parent-child interactions; discipline practices, preferences, and attitudes; and parenting stress. Parents reported frequent use and high acceptance of nonharsh discipline, as well as frequent positive interactions with their child. Though parents reported less frequent use and low acceptance of harsh discipline, preference for harsh discipline-based on hypothetical situations rather than self-report-was common. There was co-occurrence of frequent positive interactions and frequent harsh discipline, with one third reporting high frequency of both. Regression analysis revealed greater parenting stress (β = .15, t = 4.49, p < .001) and stronger acceptance of harsh discipline (β = .47, t = 15.49, p < .001) were associated with more frequent harsh discipline. Acceptance of harsh discipline interacted with parenting stress to predict the use of harsh discipline (β = -.09, t = -3.09, p < .01). Among parents with lowest average acceptance of harsh practices, stress predicted more frequent harsh discipline, but acceptance did not moderate the association for those who are most accepting of harsh practices. Building on existing parenting strengths and addressing parenting stress could promote nurturing caregiving in conflict-affected settings. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Johnson, SL; Rieder, A; Green, EP; Finnegan, A; Chase, RM; Zayzay, J; Puffer, ES

Published Date

  • November 2022

Published In

PubMed ID

  • 36395029

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1939-1293

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0893-3200

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1037/fam0001041


  • eng