A longitudinal investigation of the effects of parental discipline strategies on social competence in early childhood
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Keywords:Parental discipline, Social competence, Fragile families, Childhood, Urban families
In the current study, we investigated the associations between parenting discipline strategies (i.e., physical punishment and non-violent punishment) and social development using n = 3265 reports from primary caregivers across three waves of data. Analyses were conducted using cross-lagged structural equation modeling, where we evaluated the developmental effects of physical punishment and non-violent punishment on social competence. The findings showed partial support for developmental changes between non-violent punishment and social competence unfold reciprocally and longitudinally; the relationship between physical punishment and social competence appeared unrelated, as physical punishment in Wave 2 only negatively predicted social competence in Wave 3. These findings underscore the importance of understanding the developmental pathways for parenting discipline strategies and social skill development among children living in urban neighborhoods.
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