Undergraduate Attitudes Towards Parental Discipline Strategies
Type of DegreeThesis
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Parenting is an essential part of children’s development. Because everyone has had experience with parenting young adults likely have opinions, attitudes and beliefs regarding parenting behaviors – even before they become a parent. These attitudes and beliefs are posited to be influenced by the experience of being parented and experience with, or related to, children. In addition, it was hypothesized that experience being parented and socioeconomic status influences the formation of these attitudes. Undergraduate non-parents serve as a unique and interesting sample population because they have recently been parented and are entering a developmental phase in which they could face parenthood at any moment. In order to investigate the attitudes of undergraduate non-parents regarding discipline practices, data were collected from 248 Auburn University undergraduate students between the ages of 18 and 25 (M = 20.19, SD = 1.51). Participants completed a demographic questionnaire, modified versions of the Alabama Parenting Questionnaire (APQ), and a modified version of the Parent Perception Inventory (APP). Correlational analyses indicated significant relationships between participants’ reports on how they were parented and how they expect to parent in the future as well as their attitudes regarding the effectiveness of various discipline strategies. Significant relationships also emerged between items related to Child Exposure (CE) and attitudes toward the effectiveness of particular discipline strategies as well as with how the participants expect to parent in the future. MANOVA results indicate that how a participant was parented predicts the parenting strategies they will use in the future. The results of a stepwise regression suggest that participant’s prospective reports of their use of particular discipline strategies predicted caregiver’s socioeconomic status. The results of this study provides evidence that parenting attitudes exist prior to parenthood and that experience being parented as well as particular aspects of CE are related to those attitudes. Additionally, this study provides support for the intergenerational transmission of both positive and negative parenting practices and attitudes.