The effects of Healthy Steps on discipline strategies of parents of young children

Margaret O'Brien Caughy, Therese L. Miller, Janice L. Genevro, Keng Yen Huang, Charu Nautiyal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The Healthy Steps Initiative is a national demonstration project to provide support for parents of young children through the pediatrician's office. We report data from 432 families who were visited in their homes when the target child was between the ages of 16 and 18 months (Time 1), and 34 and 37 months (Time 2). Parents reported on their discipline strategies for the month prior to the interview. The program showed significant effects in increasing inductive/authoritative forms of discipline when the target child was a toddler. By the time of the pre-school-age assessment, the effect of Healthy Steps participation on the use of inductive/authoritative discipline strategies was moderated by maternal race/ethnicity. White mothers who participated in Healthy Steps reported higher use of inductive/authoritative discipline strategies than white mothers who were in the control group, whereas black mothers and Hispanic mothers reported lower use of inductive/authoritative discipline than their control group counterparts. We also found that treatment effects were moderated by birth order as well as family socioeconomic status. By the time the children were pre-school-age, the effects of Healthy Steps on the use of inductive/authoritative discipline were more dramatic for families living near or below poverty than for families in more secure economic circumstances. For the families with first born children, Healthy Steps participation was associated with lower use of inductive/authoritative discipline at preschool age, with an inverse association seen for families of later born children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)517-534
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
Volume24
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2003

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Keywords

  • Birth order
  • Discipline strategies
  • Healthy Steps Initiative
  • Maternal race and ethnicity
  • Pediatric care
  • Socioeconomic status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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