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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Stephaney Carter
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology
Title: Jamaican American Child Disciplinary Practices
Dr. Gary Bischof, Chair
Dr. Suzanne Hedstrom
Dr. Julia Bryan
Date: Friday, September 16, 2011 10:00 a.m. to Noon
3208 Sangren Hall
Little is known about the child disciplinary practices of Jamaican American families. Literature on child discipline in Jamaica and other Caribbean nations has mainly focused on physical discipline and no empirical studies have been done to investigate the types of discipline used in the Jamaican American community. The purpose of this study was to describe the current child disciplinary practices in the Jamaican American family. A total of 311 primarily first-generation Jamaican American parents from New York City completed the 54-item Jamaican Child Discipline Survey, designed for this study, either online or in paper-pencil format. The main foci of the study included: the use of child discipline techniques (taken from the Jamaican Survey of Living Conditions) for children ages 5-11 and 12-18 for both home and school related infractions, parental goals for parenting, strictness ratings of child discipline strategies, differences between mothers and fathers, and perceived differences between parenting practices in Jamaica and the US.
Results revealed that Jamaican American parents use a wide variety of child discipline techniques, with frequency of use varying by parent gender and age of the child. Reasoning and removing privileges were used most frequently for both age groups. Top parenting goals were developing a relationship with God and achieving a good education. Parents tended to use techniques more often that they rated either lower or higher in strictness. Mothers more often were the primary parent and used quarreling/shouting more frequently. Most respondents believed the US is very different and less strict compared to Jamaica in regard to parenting practices. Significant associations were found between parents’ level of education, age, and time in the US and the frequency of use of child discipline techniques. Major themes from optional open-ended comments included: 1) the role of the Church and the Bible as integral to child discipline, 2) the importance of maintaining open communication with children, and 3) child discipline and training begins at an early age. Cultural influences related to Jamaicans living and parenting in the US are addressed. Implications for mental health, family, school counseling and counselor education are discussed. Recommendations for future research are offered.