Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 39, Issue 6, pp 594–606 | Cite as

Parenting Predictors of Early-Adolescents’ Health Behaviors: Simultaneous Group Comparisons Across Sex and Ethnic Groups

  • Michael Windle
  • Nancy Brener
  • Paula Cuccaro
  • Patricia Dittus
  • David E. Kanouse
  • Nancy Murray
  • Jan Wallander
  • Mark A. Schuster
Empirical Research


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the invariance of predictive relations across early-adolescent sex and ethnic groups regarding parenting factors and externalizing and internalizing problems and victimization. Data (n = 598; 54% female) from a triethnic (Hispanic, non-Hispanic white, and non-Hispanic black) probability sample of fifth graders collected from three sites (Birmingham, AL, Houston, TX, and Los Angeles, CA) were used in the analyses. Simultaneous group structural equation modeling supported the invariance of parenting-early adolescent outcomes across sex and ethnic groups. Parental monitoring and parental norms were relatively robust predictors of early-adolescent externalizing problems and victimization, and to a lesser extent, of internalizing problems. A maternal nurturance by parental monitoring interaction was statistically significant for all outcome behaviors, indicating that higher monitoring in conjunction with higher maternal nurturance was associated with lower levels of early-adolescent problem behaviors. The findings suggest that core parenting factors such as nurturance, monitoring, and normative expectations for early adolescent problem behaviors may serve as a foundation for parenting components of multi-component intervention studies.


Parenting Ethnic groups Externalizing problems Victimization 



This research was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Cooperative Agreement Numbers CCU409679, CCU609653, and CCU915773. Special thanks are extended to Dr. Marc Elliott of the RAND Corporation for his comments on earlier versions of this manuscript regarding the sampling design and statistical analyses.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Windle
    • 1
  • Nancy Brener
    • 2
  • Paula Cuccaro
    • 4
  • Patricia Dittus
    • 2
  • David E. Kanouse
    • 3
  • Nancy Murray
    • 4
  • Jan Wallander
    • 5
  • Mark A. Schuster
    • 3
    • 6
    • 7
  1. 1.Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health EducationEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Division of Adolescent and School HealthCenters for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.RAND CorporationSanta MonicaUSA
  4. 4.University of TexasHoustonUSA
  5. 5.Department of PsychologyUniversity of California-MercedMercedUSA
  6. 6.Department of MedicineChildren’s Hospital BostonBostonUSA
  7. 7.Department of PediatricsHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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