In the article Parental Depression and Anxiety and Early Childhood Behavior Problems Across Family Types, the researchers Meadows, McLanahan, & Brooks-Gunn (2007) suggest that there is a link between parental mental health and child well-being. The authors examine “the association between parental major depressive and generalized anxiety disorders and child behavior problems”¯ (Meadows, McLanahan, & Brooks-Gunn , 2007, p. 1162). The study refers to different family types, including cohabiting families, which were discussed in the previous literature. As a base for the research, the authors use the following evidence from the previous literature:Ā family structure has an enormous impact on child’s well-being. According to Raley and Wildsmith (2004), “shifts in family structure involve changes in the availability of resources, increases in conflicts, parent’s and child’s stress”¯ (p. 210).Ā In addition, Meadows and colleagues (2007) state that maternal depression and mental disorders are closely connected with child’s behavior problems, while mentally ill fathers who live apart from their families do not influence their children’s behavior. In addition, it has been found that stress influences both parents’ and children’s behavior and well-being. According to the research, “stress may increase the risk of mental illness among parents, subsequently reflecting parenting skills and resources, and ultimately may foster an environment at odds with healthy child development”¯ (Meadows et al., 2007, p. 1174). Besides the above mentioned facts, the following life stressors lead to depression and anxiety both in parents and in their children: violent victimization, unemployment and poverty, residential mobility. The researchers also suggest that those parents who suffer from different mental disorders demonstrate poor parenting practices and have negative parent-child relationships. These poor parenting practices influence child’s well-being and behavior.
In the article Associations between Individual and Family Level Characteristics and Parenting Practices in Incarcerated African American Fathers, Kathryn L. Modecki and Melvin N. Wilson (2009) discuss parenting practices of incarcerated African American fathers. The major results of the study suggest that there is a “negative association between education level and restrictive parenting practices”¯ (Modecki & Wilson, 2009, p. 538). It has been found that individuals with education beyond high school demonstrate responsive parenting practices. This fact means that education level is negatively associated with restrictive parenting. In other words, lower level of education is associated with higher levels of restrictive practices. In all, the results of the study suggest that “increased education level may serve a beneficial function for fathers beyond increased employment prospects”¯ (Modecki & Wilson, 2009, p. 537). The above mentioned findings prove that special prison-based education programs should be offered to inmate fathers. One more important finding of the research is that length of time spent in prison and number of relationships bearing children are negatively associated with responsive parenting practices and positively associated with restrictive parenting practices. In addition, this study proves the fact that increased education of incarcerated fathers may improve their parenting practices, and prison programs may benefit those men who are incarcerated for long periods of time. The above mentioned findings support the previous research literature in this area. According to Modecki and Wilson (2009), the findings of this research “are consistent with previous research that suggests a negative association between education level and restrictive parenting practices”¯ (p. 538). Moreover, these findings support the previous research that suggests “having children from multiple mothers is correlated with decreased responsive and increased restrictive parenting practices”¯ (Modecki & Wilson, 2009, p. 538).
In the article The Impact of Maternal and Childhood Abuse on Parenting and Infant Temperament, Lang and his colleagues (2010) explore the role and impact of maternal history of maltreatment and psychopathology on mother”“child relationship, infant temperament and parenting. The findings of this study support the hypothesis that “maternal childhood abuse and related symptoms represent important considerations as a woman adapts to having a new child in her life”¯ (Lang et al., 2010, p. 105). Moreover, it has been found that woman’s response to childhood victimization may have various impacts on the major domains of maternal and child functioning. The results of the study prove the fact that maternal maltreatment is closely connected with the later quality of the mother”“child relationship and mother’s perceptions of her infant’s temperament, but in infancy, mother”“child relationship and child’s temperament are not interrelated. The variables under the study were measured by means of the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire to assess childhood maltreatment. This 28-item measure is focused on the use of five subscales: emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional neglect, and physical neglect. Each item discussed in the study has a 5-point Likert scale to express its frequency of occurrence. The statistical procedures that were used to test the hypotheses in this study include SPSS v10.0, Hierarchical Multiple Regression. This topic is important in the parent-child relationship in families because today childhood abuse can be viewed as a serious social problem, which has negative consequences for the further development of children, including the growing number of mental health disorders, PTSD, etc. among children. Moreover, it has a negative impact on adult relationships. It is very important to understand that physically abusive parents and neglectful parents can cause serious damage to their children.