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- Direct and Indirect Effects of Parenting Style with Child Temperament, Parent-Child Relationship, and Family Functioning on Child Social Competence in the Chinese Culture: Testing the Latent Models
- Interactional and contextual models have been conceptually proposed in understanding parental influences on children. Yet, empirical model testing has been limited. The purpose of this exploratory study was to investigate the direct and indirect effects of parenting style on child social competence using structural equation modeling in a sample of 544 Chinese families with 6-9 years old children, mainly singleton, residing in Nanjing, China. Five latent models were tested: (a) the direct model between parenting style and child social competence, (b) child temperament as a moderator, (c) parent-child relationship as a mediator, (d) the interaction model between parenting style and family functioning, and (e) bidirectional models of parenting style concurrently with parent-child relationship, and family functioning predicting child social competence. Findings showed: (a) The direct relationship between parenting style and child social competence was significant in both parents with authoritative parenting style on the positive direction, whereas authoritarian and permissive parenting styles on the negative direction; (b) child temperament did not moderate parenting style on child social competence; (c) father-child relationship mediated paternal parenting style on child social competence, whereas maternal parenting style did not; (d) family functioning neither moderated nor mediated the relationship between parenting style and child social competence for both parents; and (e) The four-factor prediction models on child social competence turned out to be unidirectional. For the mothers, the best model was from family functioning to mother-child relationship, to maternal parenting style, and finally to child social competence. Maternal parenting style was the significant proximal factor. For the fathers, it was from family functioning to paternal parenting style, to father-child relationship, and then to child social competence. Father-child relationship had the direct impact, whereas the influence of paternal parenting style was distal through father-child relationship. Findings from this study suggest that the Chinese parents should use more authoritative and less authoritarian and permissive parenting, and develop good parent-child relationships in the daily interactions with their children. Future studies need to use larger and better data to validate these models, or to extend the findings with other important child variables to explore the child's active agency.