Nurturant Supportive Affectionate Loving and Warm Parenting

Studying Maternal and Paternal Warmth and Nurturance. An extensive body of research shows that warm, nurturing, and affectionate relationships between parents and offspring are often predictive of positive psychological, behavioral, and social development of both children and adults (Rohner, 1975, 1986, 2000; Rohner & Britner, 2002). Even though most research has focused on maternal warmth and nurturance, there is a growing body of work that shows the importance of paternal warmth and nurturance as well (Rohner & Veneziano, 2001). Consequently, this section will discuss the influence for children's development of both maternal and paternal warmth and nurturance.

Caring for and Caring about Children. As noted earlier, many studies conclude that children whose fathers spend a significant amount of time taking care of them exhibit positive psychological adjustment and cognitive and intellectual development, strong academic achievement, ability to empathize, flexible gender-role orientation, and competency at problem-solving tasks (Biller, 1993; Easterbrooks & Goldberg, 1984; Lamb, 1997; Pleck, 1997; Radin, 1981b; Radin & Russell, 1983; Radin & Sagi, 1982; Radin, Williams, & Coggins, 1993; Reuter & Biller, 1973; E. Williams & Radin, 1993; S. Williams & Finley, 1997). These simple correlational studies measure the amount of time that fathers spend with children and sometimes also included measures of paternal warmth, often finding that the two variables are related to each other and to youth outcomes. However, it is unclear from these studies whether the amount of time involved and the degree of warmth make independent or joint contributions to youth outcomes. Indeed, as Veneziano and Rohner (1998) argued, "caring for" children is not necessarily the same thing as "caring about" them. And contemporary scholarship frequently asserts that qualitative factors such as paternal warmth, support, or nurturance are more important for children's development than factors such as the simple amount of time fathers spend in child care (Cabrera, Tamis-LeMonda, & Bradley et al., 2000; Lamb, 1986, 1997, 2000; Lamb & Oppenheim, 1989; Lamb, Pleck, Charnov, & Levine, 1987; Pleck, 1997; Shulman & Collins, 1993).

Research by Veneziano and Rohner (1998), Wenk and Hardesty (1994), and Veneziano (2000a) illustrates research about the relationship between the quality and quantity of paternal involvement. In a sample of African American and European American children, Veneziano and Rohner found that the amount of time that fathers spent with children across the ethnic groups was associated with children's psychological adjustment primarily insofar as it was perceived by youths to be an expression of paternal warmth. These results varied by ethnicity, however. In the European American families, paternal warmth and paternal involvement were significantly correlated with each other, and both were correlated with youths' psychological adjustment. However, in multivari-ate regression analysis, only fathers' warmth predicted positive psychological adjustment. In the African American families, fathers' time involvement was not significantly correlated with paternal warmth or with psychological adjustment, although paternal warmth was significantly related to psychological adjustment. Wenk and Hardesty also found that the quality of the positive emotional involvement of both fathers and mothers, not father's physical presence, significantly predicted children's emotional well-being in a national survey of 762 U.S. children. Finally, Veneziano's (2000a) cross-cultural comparative study found that the lack of paternal warmth and socialization for aggression predicted young males' interpersonal violence, whereas the amount of time that fathers were involved with children had no significant impact.

Outcomes Associated with Maternal and Paternal Warmth and Nurturance. As discussed earlier, studies of the influence of parental warmth and nurturance have been extensively studied in Western and non-Western societies. In recent years, the influence of paternal warmth has been investigated but the vast amount of empirical findings come from studies of maternal warmth.

Mental Health, Psychological Adjustment, and Emotional Well-Being Outcomes. Evidence of mental health, psychological adjustment, behavioral, and substance abuse outcomes of maternal warmth or lack thereof have now been documented for over 50 years. For example, when Australian, Chinese, Egyptian, German, Hungarian, Italian, Swedish, and Turkish mothers exhibit little warmth, offspring tend to exhibit significant symptoms of both clinical and non-clinical depression. Moreover, lack of maternal warmth has been related to depression among every major ethnic group in the United States, including Asian Americans, African Americans, Mexican Americans, and European Americans (Rohner & Britner, 2002).

When paternal warmth is concurrently investigated with maternal warmth, paternal warmth often merges as a more significant predictor of mental health and psychological adjustment problems than does maternal warmth (Rohner & Veneziano, 2001). Cole and McPherson (1993), for example, concluded that father-adolescent conflict, but not mother-adolescent conflict, was positively associated with adolescent depressive symptoms. Barrera and Garrison-Jones (1992) also concluded that paternal supportive behaviors were related to adolescent depression, whereas maternal support was not. Similarly, Barnett, Marshall, and Pleck (1992) and Rohner and Brothers (1999) found that the quality of relationship between offspring and fathers had a more significant impact than did the quality of relationship between mothers and offspring. Barnett et al. showed that the quality of son's relationships with their fathers, but not with their mothers, predicted adult sons' psychological adjustment, whereas Rohner and Brothers (1999) found that paternal, but not maternal, rejection (i.e., lack of warmth) predicted self-reported psychological adjustment problems in women diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.

Finally, Veneziano (2000b) found in a sample of 281 African American and European American families that only youths' self-reports of paternal warmth were significantly related to the European American youths' psychological adjustment when controlling for the influence of maternal warmth. Indeed, maternal warmth dropped from the regression model altogether. However, in the African American families, paternal as well as maternal warmth was significantly related to youths' psychological adjustment, making both independent and joint contributions.

Behavioral Outcomes. Conduct disorder, behavior problems, delinquency, and externalizing behaviors, including violent and non-violent crimes, have all been found to be significantly related to maternal and paternal warmth. Lack of maternal warmth has been shown to influence behavior problems in Bahrain, Mainland China, Croatia, England, India, and Norway, as it has in all major ethnic groups in the United States. Most studies of the relationship between lack of maternal warmth and behavior problems control for a host of other variables, including family conflict, parental control (i.e., permis-siveness-restrictiveness), household composition, father absence, parental employment, social class, ethnicity, gender, and age. Interestingly, lack of maternal warmth continues to be significantly associated with behavior difficulties when studied concurrently with such sources of variation (Rohner & Britner, 2002).

Researchers have also found that fathers' warmth is at least as important as mothers' warmth in influencing youths' behavior and conduct (Becker, 1960; Deklyen, Biernbaum, Speltz, & Greenberg, 1998; Deklyen, Speltz, & Greenberg, 1998; McPherson, 1974; Paley, Conger, & Harold, 2000; Patterson, Reid, & Dishion, 1992; Renk, Phares, & Epps, 1999; Russell & Russell, 1996; Siantz & Smith, 1994). Other researchers such as Forehand and Nousiainen (1993) and Kroupa (1988) have reported that fathers' warmth and acceptance was the sole significant predictor of youths' conduct and behavior problems. Forehand and Nousiainen speculated, "An adolescent may be more eager to obtain the approval of the father than of the mother, as the father's acceptance is less available. Thus, the father's acceptance, because of its lower level of occurrence may actually play a more salient role ... than the mother's approval" (p. 219).

Substance Abuse Outcomes. Rohner and Britner (2002) also show that lack of maternal warmth has been linked to substance abuse problems in Australia, Canada, England, The Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, Brazil, China, Curacao, Japan, Singapore, and Venezuela, as well as in most American ethnic groups including African Americans, Asian Americans, European Americans, and Hispanic Americans.

As for fathers, Campo and Rohner (1992) found a strong association between perceived parental acceptance-rejection, psychological adjustment, and substance abuse among young adults. The substance-abusing group as compared with the nonabusing group

"experienced qualitatively more paternal rejection than acceptance in their families of origin but did not experience more maternal rejection than acceptance" (p. 434). The nonabusers tended to perceive both their maternal and paternal relationships as quite warm and accepting. Perceived paternal acceptance-rejection, more than perceived maternal acceptance-rejection, was the best predictor of substance abuse among male and female young adults.

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