Risk and Adversity, Parenting Quality, and Children's Social-Emotional Adjustment in Families Experiencing Homelessness.

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Child development, ISSN: 1467-8624

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Labella, Madelyn H; Narayan, Angela J; McCormick, Christopher M; Desjardins, Christopher D; Masten, Ann S
Medicine; Social Sciences; Psychology
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A multimethod, multi-informant design was used to examine links among sociodemographic risk, family adversity, parenting quality, and child adjustment in families experiencing homelessness. Participants were 245 homeless parents (M  = 31.0, 63.6% African American) and their 4- to 6-year-old children (48.6% male). Path analyses revealed unique associations by risk domain: Higher sociodemographic risk predicted more externalizing behavior and poorer teacher-child relationships, whereas higher family adversity predicted more internalizing behavior. Parenting quality was positively associated with peer acceptance and buffered effects of family adversity on internalizing symptoms, consistent with a protective effect. Parenting quality was associated with lower externalizing behavior only when sociodemographic risk was below the sample mean. Implications for research and practice are discussed.