Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Scaramella, Laura

Second Advisor

Weems, Carl

Third Advisor

Morris, Amanda


The present study investigated the direct and interactional effects of neighborhood disadvantage and harsh parenting on concurrent assessments and change in externalizing and internalizing behavior in toddlerhood. The study included 55 mothers and their children; families completed in-home assessments when children were 2 and 3 years of age. Mothers' reports were used to measure neighborhood disadvantage and children's problem behaviors. Observer ratings derived from a clean up task were used to measure harsh parenting. Four hierarchical regression equations were computed to test each study hypothesis. Results indicated marginally significant effects of harsh parenting on externalizing problems at age 2. Surprisingly, harsh parenting and exposure to neighborhood risk did not significantly predict increases in externalizing behavior problems from age 2 to 3. Harsh parenting was marginally related to children's internalizing problems under conditions of high levels of neighborhood disadvantage and predicted increases in internalizing over time. The theoretical implications of the results are discussed.


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