All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Michael Windle

Advisory Committee Members

Sylvie Mrug

Suzanne Perumean-Chaney

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Master of Arts (MA) College of Arts and Sciences


“Tough love” has been posited as a prevalent parenting style among black families; although most of the literature has focused on differences in parenting across black and white youth, examinations of parenting within an exclusively black sample are rare. The current study used an exclusively black sample to examine a blend of parenting practices aligning with a “tough love” conceptualization of parenting: child disclosure (CD), parental nurturance (PN), and harsh discipline (HD). Given prior evidence that it might be an adaptation to compromised environments, it was hypothesized that, if viable, “tough love” would present via positive associations between violence exposure (VE) and each parenting practice. These practices, in turn, would be associated with lower levels of internalizing (IB) and externalizing behavior (EB) problems. This model was tested separately for girls and boys and for IB (i.e., depressive symptoms and anxiety) and EB (i.e., disruptive behavior disorder (DBD) symptoms and overt aggression). Full models including direct associations were tested alongside fully-mediated models. VE was positively associated with each outcome for girls and boys in the direct effects models. In mediation testing among girls, direct paths between VE and each outcome remained the strongest. For IB and EB, VE was negatively associated with PN though PN was not associated with any outcomes. iii Higher levels of VE were associated with higher levels of HD which were then associated with more negative IB and EB outcomes. For boys, fully-mediated models excluding direct paths between VE and the outcomes were selected. VE was negatively associated with CD and PN (IB only); neither mediator was associated with any outcome. Higher levels of VE were associated with higher levels of HD which were then associated negatively with all four outcomes. Findings indicated a pattern which more closely represented authoritarian parenting than “tough love” and which was, correspondingly, associated with more negative outcomes.



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