Parenting practices, communication, involvement, autonomy, externalizing, internalizing


Epidemiological estimates indicate that approximately 12% of children and adolescents in Mexico are in clinical ranges for psychological disorders. Low-income families in need of psychological support generally encounter understaffed and sometimes inefficient public health services and thus, families frequently constitute the primary source of support for individuals affected by mental health disorders. Empirical studies in the Mexican context have demonstrated that positive parental practices are associated with positive developmental outcomes and low levels of problem behaviors for both children and adolescents. This study aims to identify if such practices act as protective factors for problem behaviors in 306 Mexican students in 4th, 5th, and 6th grades from 3 public elementary schools in Mexico City. Practices of maternal autonomy and communication as well as maternal warmth were found to significantly diminish internalizing and externalizing problem behaviors, while parental involvement and communication only reduced externalizing problem behaviors. Findings have implications for social welfare programs that target positive youth development and supportive parenting.

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