Parenting style differences in Black American and White American young adults

Sarah Lynette McMurtry, University of Southern Mississippi

Abstract

Baumrind's (1967) theory of parenting style influenced over 40 years of parenting research, which found authoritative parenting as the optimal parenting style. Authoritarian and parenting styles have been linked to worse adjustment and achievement for child outcomes (Baumrind, 1967; Steinberg, Lamborn, Darling, Mounts, & Dornbusch, 1994) than children in authoritative-parented homes. In 1972, Baumrind described racial differences in parent-child relations and outcomes between authoritarian Black American and White American parents and preschoolers (1975). In comparison to White American parents, Black Americans exhibited authoritarian parenting that was less rejecting and associated with communication and warmth (Baumrind, 1975; Murry, Brody, & Simons, 2008; Reitman, Rhode, Hupp, & Altobello, 2002). The current study investigated racial differences in the Baumrind model of parenting style and relative racial differences on authoritative parenting behaviors, autonomy granting, parental supervision/strictness, and parental acceptance/involvement. A sample of 582 Black American and White American young adults, aged 18-25, reported on their parents' parenting style. Overall, no differences were found in the authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive parenting style factors for both Black American and White American groups and no differences were found between groups in parental acceptance/involvement and autonomy granting. Racial differences were also found. In the Baumrind model of parenting, authoritarian parenting style was significantly correlated to authoritative parenting style for Black Americans. Further, Black American reported stricter parenting in comparison to White Americans. These findings provide support that Baumrind's parenting styles are consistent across race, but also provide evidence that racial differences exist in the relationship between authoritative and authoritarian parenting style for Black Americans and White Americans.