Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Gary H. Bischof


Little is known about child disciplinary practices in Jamaican American families. Literature on child discipline in Jamaica and other Caribbean nations has mainly focused on physical discipline, and no empirical studies have investigated the types of discipline used in the Jamaican American community. The purpose of this study was to describe current child disciplinary practices in Jamaican American families. A total of 311 primarily first-generation Jamaican American parents from New York City completed the 54-item Jamaican Child Discipline Survey, designed for this study, either online or in paper-pencil format. The main foci of the study included the use of child discipline techniques taken from the Jamaican Survey of Living Conditions for children ages 5 to 11 years and 12 to 18 years for both home and school-related infractions; parental goals for parenting; strictness ratings of child discipline strategies; differences between mothers and fathers; and perceived differences between parenting practices in Jamaica and the United States.

Results revealed that Jamaican American parents use a wide variety of child discipline techniques, with frequency of use varying by parent gender and age of child. Reasoning and removing privileges were used most frequently for both age groups. Top parenting goals were developing a relationship with God and achieving a good education. Parents tended to use the techniques they rated more strictly more often. Mothers more often were the primary parent and used quarreling/shouting more frequently. Most respondents perceived the United States as different and less strict compared to Jamaica in regard to parenting practices. Significant associations were found among parents‘ level of education, age, time in the United States, and the frequency of use of child discipline techniques. Major themes from optional open-ended comments included: (a) the role of the church and Bible as integral to child discipline, (b) the importance of maintaining open communication with children, and (c) child discipline and training begins at an early age. Cultural influences related to Jamaicans living and parenting in the United States are addressed. Implications for mental health, family and school counseling, and counselor education are discussed. Recommendations for future research are offered.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access