Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

McCarthy, Randy

Degree Name

B.A. (Bachelor of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Parents differ in the extent to which they believe harsh parenting behaviors are beneficial for their children. This study examined whether parents’ demographic factors (e.g., ethnicity, marital status, educational attainment, employment status, age, and gender) are related to their beliefs about harsh parenting. Previously-collected survey data from parents (N = 1,111) was used for the current study. This data included demographic information as well as a self-report measure entitled “Belief in the Beneficence of Harsh Parenting Scale” (McCarthy, 2014) which was used to measure parents’ beliefs about how beneficial harsh parenting is for children. Fathers reported higher beliefs in harsh parenting compared to mothers, employed parents reported higher beliefs in harsh parenting compared to unemployed parents, and younger age predicted higher beliefs in harsh parenting. The relationship between education and harsh parenting beliefs was also found to be moderated by gender with mothers reporting lower harsh parenting beliefs with more education. All other demographic factors were unrelated to parents’ beliefs in harsh parenting. Because such harsh parenting beliefs are believed to mediate the relationship between parent demographic factors and harsh parenting behaviors, the goal of such research is to identify factors that could be targeted to improve parent-child relationships.

Melanie Phelps 2016.pdf (525 kB)
Melanie Phelps 2016.pdf

Melanie Phelps Honors Thesis.docx (43 kB)
Melanie Phelps Honors Thesis.docx


26 pages




Northern Illinois University

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