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Family Relationships, Parenting Practices, the Availability of Male Family Members, and the Behavior of Inner-City Boys in Single-Mother and Two-Parent Families

Paul Florsheim, Patrick Tolan and Deborah Gorman-Smith
Child Development
Vol. 69, No. 5 (Oct., 1998), pp. 1437-1447
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1132276
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1132276
Page Count: 11
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Family Relationships, Parenting Practices, the Availability of Male Family Members, and the Behavior of Inner-City Boys in Single-Mother and Two-Parent Families
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Abstract

The primary goal of this study was to clarify if and how differences in the functioning of single-mother and two-parent families relate to the occurrence of behavioral problems among inner-city boys (ages 10-15). Data were collected on family relationships, parenting practices, the positive influence of male family members, and the severity of externalizing behavior problems. Results indicated that (1) multiple family risk factors contribute to the occurrence of behavior problems; (2) most family risk factors were generalizable to both single-mother and two-parent families; (3) although boys in single-mother families were at greater risk for developing behavior problems than boys in two-parent families, the risks associated with single motherhood were offset by a structured family environment, an effective disciplinary strategy that allowed for some degree of adolescent autonomy, and the positive involvement of a male family member; and (4) not all differences in the functioning of single-mother and two-parent families were associated with problem behavior, underscoring the importance of distinguishing between adaptive and maladaptive aspects of single-mother family functioning.

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