Trajectories of Early Parenting Practices among Low-Income Ethnically Diverse Women

Anna K. Ettinger, Anne W. Riley, Elizabeth Colantuoni, Tamar Mendelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Responsive and consistent parenting practices are essential to child social, emotional, and mental well-being, yet little is known about how parenting behaviors change over time among low income, urban families who may experience environmental instability and other stressors that make these practices more variable. This study examined maternal parenting trajectories and economic, social and health resources associated with these trajectories among low-income predominantly Black and Hispanic mothers over time using three waves of data from the Welfare, Children, and Families: A Three-City Study (N = 1140). Growth trajectories of maternal parenting practices (including family routines, firm-responsive parenting, and corporal punishment) were modeled using linear random effects models. Stratified trajectory analyses were conducted to examine the differences in effects of maternal resources on parenting practices over time by child developmental status. On average, mothers’ parenting practices improved over time as the children aged. Trajectory analyses revealed that maternal resources were associated with baseline levels of parenting rather than changes in trajectories over time. Mothers with more social and health resources reported more positive parenting practices and lower levels of corporal punishment at each time point. Results suggest the value of intervening early to enhance maternal education, health, and mental health to improve parenting practices among low-income ethnically diverse mothers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)615-628
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


  • Ethnically diverse families
  • Family routines
  • Low-income families
  • Maternal resources
  • Parenting trajectories

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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