Social support for African American low-income parents: The influence of preadolescents' risk behavior and support role on parental monitoring and child outcomes

Scott Miller, Mary M. McKay*, Donna Baptiste

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Urban parents, particularly single mothers living within inner-city communities, often struggle to obtain sufficient social support for themselves and for parenting. Support for these parents is particularly important given the prevalence of risk-taking behaviors among youth in these communities, which necessitates vigilant monitoring of these youth. The current study explored from whom low-income mothers obtain social support, the influence of child externalizing on source of social support, and how social support and child behavior interrelate with parental monitoring and supervision. Contrary to expectations, parental monitoring at time 1 did not predict child externalizing at time 2, but, as expected, a significant negative association was noted at time 1 between these constructs. Higher time 1 child externalizing did predict lower time 2 maternal monitoring, suggesting frustrated efforts by mothers to monitor high externalizing children. Mothers reporting strong support networks, however, showed higher levels of monitoring, and mothers who turned to children for social support also showed a tendency to monitor more closely. Although mothers of high externalizing children reported poor support quality, mothers did not discriminate between high and low externalizing children when choosing source of social support. These findings suggest the importance of monitoring prior to child initiation into risk-taking behavior, and the possible role of children in strengthening support networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)121-145
Number of pages25
JournalSocial Work in Mental Health
Volume5
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 22 2007

Keywords

  • Child externalizing
  • Monitoring prior to initiation of risk-taking behavior
  • Parental support
  • Single urban mothers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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