Modern family

Kevin Lewis

November 01, 2012

Disenfranchisement Through Divorce? Estimating the Effect of Parental Absence on Voter Turnout

Michael Sances
Political Behavior, forthcoming

Does growing up without both parents decrease voter turnout? I extend and improve upon earlier answers to this question. First, I estimate the long-term effects on voter turnout via analysis of a nationally representative sample of adults. Second, I exploit the quasi-natural experiment of parental death to correct for non-random selection into parental absence. Contrary to previous research, I find no evidence that growing up in an absent-parent household effects white voter turnout. I also present evidence suggesting the negative effects are limited to black voters.


Is Growing Up Affluent Risky for Adolescents or Is the Problem Growing Up in an Affluent Neighborhood?

Terese Lund & Eric Dearing
Journal of Research on Adolescence, forthcoming

Community studies indicating that affluence has social-emotional consequences for youth have conflated family and neighborhood wealth. We examined adolescent boys' delinquency and adolescent girls' anxiety-depression as a function of family, neighborhood, and cumulative affluence in a sample that is primarily of European-American descent, but geographically and economically diverse (N = 1,364). Boys in affluent neighborhoods reported higher levels of delinquency and girls in affluent neighborhoods reported higher levels of anxiety-depression compared with youth in middle-class neighborhoods. Neither family affluence nor cumulative affluence, however, placed boys or girls at risk in these domains. Indeed, boys' delinquency and girls' anxiety-depression levels were lowest for those in affluent families living in middle-class neighborhoods.


Welfare reform and the subjective well-being of single mothers

Chris Herbst
Journal of Population Economics, January 2013, Pages 203-238

Although a large body of research examines the impact of welfare reform, there remains considerable uncertainty as to whether single mothers' well-being improved in the wake of these policy changes. Using unique data from the DDB Worldwide Communications Life Style survey, this paper exploits a large battery of survey questions on self-reported life satisfaction and physical and mental health to study the impact of welfare reform on the subjective well-being of single mothers. The identification strategy relies on a difference-in-differences framework to estimate intent-to-treat effects for the welfare waiver and TANF periods. Results indicate that the bundle of TANF reforms had mostly positive effects on single mothers' subjective well-being. These women experienced an increase in life satisfaction, greater optimism about the future, and more financial satisfaction. Furthermore, these improvements did not come at a cost of reducing mental and physical health. Welfare waivers, in contrast, had largely neutral effects on well-being. I provide indirect evidence that the increase in single mothers' employment after welfare reform can plausibly explain the gains in subjective well-being.


Increased longevity evolves from grandmothering

Peter Kim, James Coxworth & Kristen Hawkes
Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, forthcoming

Postmenopausal longevity may have evolved in our lineage when ancestral grandmothers subsidized their daughters' fertility by provisioning grandchildren, but the verbal hypothesis has lacked mathematical support until now. Here, we present a formal simulation in which life spans similar to those of modern chimpanzees lengthen into the modern human range as a consequence of grandmother effects. Greater longevity raises the chance of living through the fertile years but is opposed by costs that differ for the sexes. Our grandmother assumptions are restrictive. Only females who are no longer fertile themselves are eligible, and female fertility extends to age 45 years. Initially, there are very few eligible grandmothers and effects are small. Grandmothers can support only one dependent at a time and do not care selectively for their daughters' offspring. They must take the oldest juveniles still relying on mothers; and infants under the age of 2 years are never eligible for subsidy. Our model includes no assumptions about brains, learning or pair bonds. Grandmother effects alone are sufficient to propel the doubling of life spans in less than sixty thousand years.


The Consequences of Teenage Childbearing: Consistent Estimates When Abortion Makes Miscarriage Nonrandom

Adam Ashcraft, Iván Fernández-Val & Kevin Lang
Economic Journal, forthcoming

Miscarriage, even if biologically random, is not socially random. Willingness to abort reduces miscarriage risk. Because abortions are favorably selected among pregnant teens, those miscarrying are less favorably selected than those giving birth or aborting but more favorably selected than those giving birth. Therefore, using miscarriage as an instrument is biased towards a benign view of teen motherhood while OLS on just those giving birth or miscarrying has the opposite bias. We derive a consistent estimator that reduces to a weighted average of OLS and IV when outcomes are independent of abortion timing. Estimated effects are generally adverse but modest.


Parental Investments in College and Later Cash Transfers

Steven Haider & Kathleen McGarry
NBER Working Paper, October 2012

The rising cost of college tuition and the accompanying investment parents often make have received considerable attention recently. While classic models in economics make important predictions about the magnitudes of these investments, their distribution across children, and their relationship with later cash transfers, there has been little empirical work examining these predictions, especially with regards to the differential treatment of siblings. Using unique data from a supplement to the Health and Retirement Study, we find that parents typically invest differentially in the schooling of siblings, but we find no evidence that these investments are offset by later cash transfers.


Background Television in the Homes of US Children

Matthew Lapierre, Jessica Taylor Piotrowski & Deborah Linebarger
Pediatrics, forthcoming

Objective: US parents were surveyed to determine the amount of background television that their children are exposed to as well as to isolate demographic factors associated with increased exposure to background television. After this, we ask how certain home media practices are linked to children's background television exposure.

Methods: US parents/caregivers (N = 1454) with 1 child between the ages of 8 months and 8 years participated in this study. A nationally representative telephone survey was conducted. Parents were asked to report on their child's exposure to background television via a 24-hour time diary. Parents were also asked to report relevant home media behaviors related to their child: bedroom television ownership, number of televisions in the home, and how often a television was on in the home.

Results: The average US child was exposed to 232.2 minutes of background television on a typical day. With the use of multiple regression analysis, we found that younger children and African American children were exposed to more background television. Leaving the television on while no one is viewing and children's bedroom television ownership were associated with increased background television exposure.

Conclusions: Although recent research has shown the negative consequences associated with background television, this study provides the first nationally representative estimates of that exposure. The amount of exposure for the average child is startling. This study offers practitioners potential pathways to reduce exposure.


Parental leave - A policy evaluation of the Swedish "Daddy-Month" reform

John Ekberg, Rickard Eriksson & Guido Friebel
Journal of Public Economics, forthcoming

Many governments are making attempts to increase fathers' share of parental leave in order to correct for unequal labor market outcomes. Using Swedish data, we ask whether fathers can be encouraged to take more parental leave in order to mitigate the negative consequences of mothers' career interruptions. The unique data stem from a reform of parental leave, resulting in a clean natural experiment. Data comprise all children born before (control group) and after (treatment group) the date of implementation of the reform, in cohorts of up to 27,000 newborns, mothers and fathers. We find strong short-term effects of the incentives on male parental leave, but no behavioral effects in the household. Fathers in the treatment group do not take larger shares of the leave taken for care of sick children, which is our measure for household work. We also investigate a second data set on fathers' and mothers' long-term wages and employment, without finding evidence for substantial effects of the reform.


The Benefits of Breast Feeding across the Early Years of Childhood

Clive Belfield & Inas Rashad Kelly
Journal of Human Capital, September 2012, Pages 251-277

There has been much scrutiny recently of the choice to breast-feed rather than formula-feed an infant, yet key identification issues remain to be resolved. This study uses the Early Childhood Longitudinal Survey-Birth Cohort to explore the causal effect of breast feeding on child development. Using simultaneous equations models and propensity score measures and adjusting for confounding factors, we examine health, physical, and cognitive outcomes and relate these to a set of breast feeding and formula feeding intensities measures. Our results indicate that breast feeding is protective against obesity and improves cognitive outcomes at 24 months and 54 months. Furthermore, not being formula-fed at birth is associated with higher motor scores.


Caregiver Experiences of Discrimination and African American Adolescents' Psychological Health Over Time

Kahlil Ford et al.
Child Development, forthcoming

The present study examined the effect of caregivers' experiences of racial discrimination on their adolescent children's psychological functioning among a sample of 264 African American dyads. Potential relations between caregiver discrimination experiences and a number of indicators of adolescents' (aged 12-17) psychological functioning over time were examined. It was found that caregiver discrimination experiences were positively related to adolescents' symptoms of depression and negatively related to their psychological well-being. Additional analysis revealed interactions between the effects of caregiver discrimination experiences and family income on all 3 outcomes. Greater caregiver discrimination experiences and lower family income were risk factors for the youth in the sample. These findings underscore the deleterious consequence of caregivers' discrimination experiences on African American youth's psychological health.


Do state breastfeeding laws in the USA promote breast feeding?

Summer Sherburne Hawkins, Ariel Dora Stern & Matthew Gillman
Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, forthcoming

Objectives: Despite the passage of state laws promoting breast feeding, a formal evaluation has not yet been conducted to test whether and/or what type of laws may increase breast feeding. The enactment of breastfeeding laws in different states in the USA creates a natural experiment. We examined the impact of state breastfeeding laws on breastfeeding initiation and duration as well as on disparities in these infant feeding practices.

Methods: Using data from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, we conducted differences-in-differences models to examine breastfeeding status before and after the institution of laws between 2000 and 2008 among 326 263 mothers from 32 states in the USA. For each mother, we coded the presence of two types of state breastfeeding laws. Mothers reported whether they ever breast fed or pumped breast milk (breastfeeding initiation) and, if so, how long they continued. We defined breastfeeding duration as continuing to breast feed for ≥4 weeks.

Results: Breastfeeding initiation was 1.7 percentage points higher in states with new laws to provide break time and private space for breastfeeding employees (p=0.01), particularly among Hispanic mothers (adjusted coefficient 0.058). While there was no overall effect of laws permitting mothers to breast feed in any location, among Black mothers we observed increases in breastfeeding initiation (adjusted coefficient 0.056). Effects on breastfeeding duration were in the same direction, but slightly weaker.

Conclusions: State laws that support breast feeding appear to increase breastfeeding rates. Most of these gains were observed among Hispanic and Black women and women of lower educational attainment suggesting that such state laws may help reduce disparities in breast feeding.


The impact of parental discipline on the image of God

Hui-Tzu Grace Chou & Dominique Uata
Mental Health, Religion & Culture, August 2012, Pages 677-688

The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of parental discipline on men's and women's image of God - specially the degree to which they report perceiving God as loving, forgiving, trustworthy, and available. It compares the four major different parenting styles - authoritative, authoritarian, permissive/indulgent, and neglectful/rejecting - that people received during childhood on their perceptions of God when they are in college. Based on questionnaires completed by undergraduate students at a state university in Utah, this study found that parental discipline styles are related to individuals' images of God to some extent. The results of a logistic regression show that parental discipline styles have differential impacts on the image of God between male and female respondents. For men, the image of God is significantly related to the parenting styles they received during their childhood, whereas for women, the relationship is not significant. Implications are discussed.


Adolescents with Lesbian Mothers Describe Their Own Lives

Nanette Gartrell et al.
Journal of Homosexuality, October 2012, Pages 1211-1229

Empirical research on the everyday life experiences of adolescents reared by lesbian mothers is limited. The current study gathered self-report descriptive data from 78 adolescents enrolled in the largest, longest-running, prospective longitudinal study of planned lesbian families, with a 93% retention rate to date. Results revealed that the 17-year-old adolescents were academically successful in supportive school environments. They had active social networks and close family bonds. Nearly all considered their mothers good role models. The adolescents rated their overall wellbeing an average of 8.14 on a 10-point-maximum scale. The implications of these findings for research and practice are discussed.


The link between childhood sexual abuse and myocardial infarction in a population-based study

Esme Fuller-Thomson et al.
Child Abuse & Neglect, September 2012, Pages 656-665

Objectives: This study examined the relationship between childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and myocardial infarction in men and women, while controlling for social determinants (i.e., socioeconomic status, social support, mental health) and traditional cardiovascular risk factors (i.e., age, race, obesity, smoking, physical inactivity, diabetes mellitus).

Methods: Population-based data were obtained from the 2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Myocardial infarction was ascertained by self-report of a health-professional diagnosis. CSA was defined as forced sex with someone at least 5 years older before the age of 18. The final sample included 5,095 men and 7,768 women.

Results: After adjustment for 15 factors, abused males had nearly 3 times the odds of heart attack compared to non-abused males (OR = 2.96; 95% CI = 1.12, 7.85). Among women, CSA was not associated with heart attack in the age-race adjusted (OR = 1.20; 95% CI = 0.39, 3.68) or fully-adjusted (OR = 0.88; 95% CI = 0.28, 2.75) analyses.

Conclusions: CSA was associated with heart attack in men, even when controlling for traditional risk factors; however, no association was found among women. Future research is needed to replicate the study's unique findings.


Early and Late Human Capital Investments, Borrowing Constraints, and the Family

Elizabeth Caucutt & Lance Lochner
NBER Working Paper, October 2012

This paper investigates the importance of family borrowing constraints in determining human capital investments in children at early and late ages. We begin by providing new evidence from the Children of the NLSY (CNLSY) which suggests that borrowing constraints bind for at least some families with young children. Next, we develop an intergenerational model of lifecycle human capital accumulation to study the role of early versus late investments in children when credit markets are imperfect. We analytically establish the importance of dynamic complementarity in investment for the qualitative nature of investment responses to income and policy changes. We extend the framework to incorporate dynasties and use data from the CNLSY to calibrate the model. Our benchmark steady state suggests that roughly half of young parents and 12% of old parents are borrowing constrained, while older children are unconstrained. We also identify strong complementarity between early and late investments, suggesting that policies targeted to one stage of development tend to have similar effects on investment in both stages. We use this calibrated model to study the effects of education subsidies, loans and transfers offered at different ages on early and late human capital investments and subsequent earnings in the short-run and long-run. A key lesson is that the interaction between dynamic complementarity and early borrowing constraints means that early interventions tend to be more successful than later interventions at improving human capital outcomes.


Effects of early maternal employment on maternal health and well-being

Pinka Chatterji, Sara Markowitz & Jeanne Brooks-Gunn
Journal of Population Economics, January 2013, Pages 285-301

This study uses data from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study on Early Child Care to examine the effects of maternal employment on maternal mental and overall health, self-reported parenting stress, and parenting quality. These outcomes are measured when children are 6 months old. Among mothers of 6-month-old infants, maternal work hours are positively associated with depressive symptoms and parenting stress and negatively associated with self-rated overall health. However, maternal employment is not associated with quality of parenting at 6 months, based on trained assessors' observations of maternal sensitivity.


What Did You Do All Day? Maternal Education and Child Outcomes

Tahir Andrabi, Jishnu Das & Asim Ijaz Khwaja
Journal of Human Resources, Fall 2012, Pages 873-912

Does maternal education have an impact on children's educational outcomes even at the very low levels found in many developing countries? We use instrumental variables analysis to address this issue in Pakistan. We find that children of mothers with some education spend 72 more minutes per day on educational activities at home. Mothers with some education also spend more time helping their children with school work. In the subset that have test scores available, children whose mothers have some education have higher scores by 0.23-0.35 standard deviations. We do not find support for channels through which education affects bargaining power within the household.


Paternal Influences on Adolescent Sexual Risk Behaviors: A Structured Literature Review

Vincent Guilamo-Ramos et al.
Pediatrics, forthcoming

Background and objective: To date, most parent-based research has neglected the role of fathers in shaping adolescent sexual behavior and has focused on mothers. The objective of this study was to conduct a structured review to assess the role of paternal influence on adolescent sexual behavior and to assess the methodological quality of the paternal influence literature related to adolescent sexual behavior.

Methods: We searched electronic databases: PubMed, PsychINFO, Social Services Abstracts, Family Studies Abstracts, Sociological Abstracts, and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature. Studies published between 1980 and 2011 that targeted adolescents 11 to 18 years and focused on paternal parenting processes were included. Methodological quality was assessed by using an 11-item scoring system.

Results: Thirteen articles were identified and reviewed. Findings suggest paternal factors are independently associated with adolescent sexual behavior relative to maternal factors. The most commonly studied paternal influence was emotional qualities of the father-adolescent relationship. Paternal communication about sex was most consistently associated with adolescent sexual behavior, whereas paternal attitudes about sex was least associated. Methodological limitations include a tendency to rely on cross-sectional design, nonprobability sampling methods, and focus on sexual debut versus broader sexual behavior.

Conclusions: Existing research preliminarily suggests fathers influence the sexual behavior of their adolescent children; however, more rigorous research examining diverse facets of paternal influence on adolescent sexual behavior is needed. We provide recommendations for primary care providers and public health practitioners to better incorporate fathers into interventions designed to reduce adolescent sexual risk behavior.


The Effect of Informal Care on Work and Wages

Courtney Van Houtven, Norma Coe & Meghan Skira
Journal of Health Economics, forthcoming

Cross-sectional evidence in the United States finds that informal caregivers have less attachment to the labor force. The causal mechanism is unclear: do children who work less become informal caregivers, or are children who become caregivers working less? Using longitudinal data from the Health and Retirement Study, we identify the relationship between informal care and work in the United States, both on the intensive and extensive margins, and examine wage effects. We control for time-invariant individual heterogeneity; rule out or control for endogeneity; examine effects for men and women separately; and analyze heterogeneous effects by task and intensity. We find modest decreases - 2.4 percentage points - in the likelihood of working for male caregivers providing personal care. Female chore caregivers, meanwhile, are more likely to be retired. For female care providers who remain working, we find evidence that they decrease work by 3 to 10 hours per week and face a 3 percent lower wage than non-caregivers. We find little effect of caregiving on working men's hours or wages. These estimates suggest that the opportunity costs to informal care providers are important to consider when making policy recommendations about the design and funding of public long-term care programs.


Recollections of parent-child relationships, attachment insecurity, and obsessive-compulsive beliefs

Jessica Yarbro et al.
Personality and Individual Differences, forthcoming

To adequately understand Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), it is important to understand the developmental origins of obsessive beliefs and corresponding compulsive acts. Prior work has shown that having cold, neglectful parents in childhood and/or insecure attachment styles are both linked to emotional disturbances. In this study, we explored the potential contributions of early parent-child relationships to attachment styles and the severity of obsessive-compulsive beliefs in adulthood. A sample of 397 college students completed online, self-report measures of retrospective parent-child relationships, adult attachment styles, and ongoing obsessive -compulsive symptoms. Analyses revealed that attachment anxiety partially mediated the association between parent-child relationships and obsessive beliefs; attachment avoidance failed to operate as a mediating mechanism. Our findings provide support for interpersonal approaches to obsessive- compulsive symptoms and disorder, with implications for the continuity of relationship dysfunction from childhood into adulthood.


Becoming Teen Fathers: Stories of Teen Pregnancy, Responsibility, and Masculinity

Jennifer Beggs Weber
Gender & Society, forthcoming

Drawing on in-depth interviews, I analyze how teen fathers talk about the responsibility for having a baby at a young age. In addition to negotiating the stigma often associated with teen pregnancy, teen fathers also confront stereotypes that label them as selfish and uncaring. In telling their stories of "what happened," they utilize three gendered discourses to deny responsibility for the pregnancy: the feminization of birth control, a discourse of uncontrollable male sexual desire, and love. Their narratives also reveal the ways in which gendered norms can solve some problems while creating others. Aligning themselves with certain notions of masculinity can serve as a resource for denying responsibility for the pregnancy while also signifying their manhood, but these same discourses are also constraining in that they reinforce stereotypes of teen fathers as selfish, even predatory. While these approaches may allow teen fathers to claim masculine identities, they also stigmatize them as the wrong kind of men. In short, teen fathers are not only negotiating the potential stigma of teen pregnancy, they are also negotiating their identities as men.


Parenting satisfaction at midlife among European- and Chinese-American mothers with a college-enrolled child

Esther Chang & Ellen Greenberger
Asian American Journal of Psychology, forthcoming

This study investigated ethnic differences and similarities in the correlates of parenting satisfaction among mothers with a college-enrolled child to understand the potential role of culture in shaping the midlife parenting experience. Seventy-two mothers of Chinese ethnicity and 68 mothers of European extraction (M age = 49.8) completed questionnaires regarding their level of parenting satisfaction, relationship quality, and the perceived academic performance of their college-enrolled child (M age = 19.72). Chinese-American mothers reported significantly lower parenting satisfaction than did European-American mothers, as well as less positive relationship quality (i.e., lower mutual warmth and acceptance and higher parent-child conflict) and poorer perceived college performance by their young-adult child (i.e., grades, academic investment, and satisfaction with students' college experiences). Perceived grades and academic investment were correlated with the parenting satisfaction of Chinese-American mothers but not with that of European-American mothers. Regression analyses indicated that mutual warmth and acceptance contributed independently to maternal satisfaction with parenting and reduced ethnic differences in parenting satisfaction to nonsignificance. These results led us to conclude that mutual warmth with young-adult children is a key feature of midlife parenting satisfaction for mothers of both ethnic groups.


Evocative gene-parenting correlations and academic performance at first grade: An exploratory study

Cathi Propper et al.
Development and Psychopathology, November 2012, Pages 1265-1282

Academic performance during the first years of school lays the groundwork for subsequent trajectories of academic success throughout childhood and adolescence. The current study tests a model according to which a gene- parenting correlation in the first 3 years of life is associated with subsequent psychosocial adjustment and then academic performance in the first grade (as indicated by teachers' assessment of academic behavior and two subscales of the Woodcock-Johnson Test of Achievement, Third Edition). Drawing on multiple waves of data from the Durham Child Health and Development Study, we find that risk alleles for dopamine receptor genes (dopamine receptor D4 for girls, dopamine receptor D2 for boys) are associated with less sensitive parenting. For girls, parenting mediates the link between dopamine receptor D4 and all academic outcomes. There is some indication that parenting also influences girls' withdrawn behavior in the classroom, which in turn influences teachers' assessments of academic performance. For boys, some evidence suggests that parenting is associated with emotion regulation, which is associated with teachers' assessments of academic behavior and both subscales of the Woodcock-Johnson. Replications of this exploratory study are necessary, but these findings provide a first step in understanding how evocative correlations in the home may predict indicators of psychosocial adjustment that in turn influence performance and achievement at school.


The evolution of matrilineal kinship organization

Laura Fortunato
Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences, forthcoming

Matrilineal kinship organization is a human social system that emphasizes interactions between matrilineal kin, i.e. individuals related only through females. The ‘matrilineal puzzle' refers to the potential for tension characteristic of this social system, owing to the conflict between the interests and responsibilities of men in their roles as brother/uncle versus husband/father. From an evolutionary perspective, matrilineal kinship organization is puzzling when it diverts investment of resources from the individuals who provide the potentially highest reproductive returns. I use a game-theoretic framework to investigate a particular form of matrilineal inheritance - the transfer of property from a maternal uncle to a sororal nephew. The analysis reveals two mechanisms that may make this strategy a stable evolutionary outcome. First, a polygynous male has multiple wives, and hence multiple brothers-in-law; with matrilineal inheritance, each additional brother-in-law may transfer resources to the male's wife's offspring, thus potentially contributing to the male's inclusive fitness. Second, the husband of a polyandrous female is effectively ‘sharing' paternity with other men; depending on the number of husbands, he may be better off investing in his sister's offspring. I conclude by discussing how these results address the challenges posed by the occurrence of matrilineal kinship organization.


Severe Maternal Morbidity Among Delivery and Postpartum Hospitalizations in the United States

William Callaghan, Andreaa Creanga & Elena Kuklina
Obstetrics & Gynecology, forthcoming

Objectives: To propose a new standard for monitoring severe maternal morbidity, update previous estimates of severe maternal morbidity during both delivery and postpartum hospitalizations, and estimate trends in these events in the United States between 1998 and 2009.

Methods: Delivery and postpartum hospitalizations were identified in the Nationwide Inpatient Sample for the period 1998-2009. International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision codes indicating severe complications were used to identify hospitalizations with severe maternal morbidity and related in-hospital mortality. Trends were reported using 2-year increments of data.

Results: Severe morbidity rates for delivery and postpartum hospitalizations for the 2008-2009 period were 129 and 29, respectively, for every 10,000 delivery hospitalizations. Compared with the 1998-1999 period, severe maternal morbidity increased by 75% and 114% for delivery and postpartum hospitalizations, respectively. We found increasing rates of blood transfusion, acute renal failure, shock, acute myocardial infarction, respiratory distress syndrome, aneurysms, and cardiac surgery during delivery hospitalizations. Moreover, during the study period, rates of postpartum hospitalization with 13 of the 25 severe complications examined more than doubled, and the overall mortality during postpartum hospitalizations increased by 66% (P<.05).

Conclusions: Severe maternal morbidity currently affects approximately 52,000 women during their delivery hospitalizations and, based on current trends, this burden is expected to increase. Clinical review of identified cases of severe maternal morbidity can provide an opportunity to identify points of intervention for quality improvement in maternal care.


Culture Moderates the Genetic and Environmental Etiologies of Parenting: A Cultural Behavior Genetic Approach

Chizuru Shikishima et al.
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

A cultural behavior genetic approach was introduced as a prospective means to describe psychological differences between cultures. We compared genetic and environmental influences on remembered parenting for samples of twins from Japan and Sweden. Data were collected from 720 pairs of young adult Japanese twins and 824 pairs of adult Swedish twins using the Parental Bonding Instrument. In both samples, a very similar phenotypic factor structure was developed for maternal and paternal parenting. However, the genetic and environmental contributions were different. Parenting in Japan showed more genetic influences, whereas parenting in Sweden showed more shared environmental influences. Moreover, covariation among the six dimensions of parenting (i.e., maternal and paternal Warmth, Protectiveness, and Authoritarianism) was due to genetic correlations in Japan and to shared environmental correlations in Sweden. These results are consistent with the cultural psychology argument that parenting practices are child centered in Japan but parent centered in the West.


Parental psychological control dimensions: Connections with Russian preschoolers' physical and relational aggression

David Nelson et al.
Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, forthcoming

Parental psychological control generally consists of overinvolved/protective and critical/rejecting elements, both being linked to children's psychosocial maladjustment. The critical/rejecting element is multidimensional in nature, and few studies have explored this conceptual fullness. It is possible that some dimensions, if they can be statistically differentiated, are uniquely tied to various child behaviors. This may help resolve some of the inconsistency apparent across studies, such as studies of relational aggression. Accordingly, we examined the association between parental psychological control and childhood physical and relational aggression using a dimensional approach. Participants were 204 Russian preschoolers and their parents. The results revealed that dimensions of psychosocial control (i.e., shaming/disappointment, constraining verbal expressions, invalidating feelings, love withdrawal, and guilt induction) could be statistically differentiated, even though most dimensions tended to be significantly correlated. Furthermore, all dimensions, except for invalidating feelings, were significantly associated with childhood aggression, but predominantly in same-gender parent-child dyads.

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