Sex-based differences in parenting styles in a sample with preschool children

Alan Russell, Valerie Aloa, Trevor Feder, Anne Glover, Helen Miller, Glen Palmer

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    90 Citations (Scopus)


    Sex-based differences in parenting styles were examined using mother and father self-reports from a sample of parents (N = 305) with a preschool boy or girl as the target. The 11 individual styles investigated were components of the authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive parenting patterns. A number of mean-level differences were found between the parenting styles of mothers and fathers, as well as between the parenting of boys and girls. For example, mothers were higher than fathers on the styles comprising the authoritative pattern, and there was evidence of fathers being more likely than mothers to use the styles in the authoritarian and permissive patterns. The authoritarian styles were more likely to be used when parenting boys, and the authoritative style of reasoning/induction was more likely when parenting girls. The results were not related either to the sex composition of children in the family or to the child's birth order. Cluster analysis suggested two main parenting types, one containing authoritative styles and the other containing "negative" styles. Possible explanations for and consequences and implications of the sex-based differences in parenting styles are considered.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)89-99
    Number of pages11
    JournalAustralian Journal of Psychology
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 1998


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