Maternal Warmth Moderates the Link between Harsh Discipline and Later Externalizing Behaviors for Mexican American Adolescents

Miguelina Germán, Nancy A. Gonzales, Darya Bonds McClain, Larry Dumka, Roger Millsap

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

24 Scopus citations


Objective. This study examined maternal warmth as a moderator of the relation between harsh discipline practices and adolescent externalizing problems one year later in low-income, Mexican American families. Design. Participants were 189 adolescents and their mothers who comprised the control group of a longitudinal intervention program. Results. Maternal warmth protected adolescents from the negative effects of harsh discipline such that, at higher levels of maternal warmth, there was no relation between harsh discipline and externalizing problems after controlling for baseline levels of externalizing problems and other covariates. At lower levels of maternal warmth, there was a positive relation between harsh discipline practices and later externalizing problems. Conclusion. To understand the role of harsh discipline in the development of Mexican American youth outcomes, researchers must consider contextual variables that may affect youths' perceptions of their parents' behavior, such as maternal warmth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-177
Number of pages9
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2013


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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