Indirect Effects of Parental Physical Discipline on Child Literacy through Child Externalizing and Internalizing Problems: A Longitudinal Mediation

Master's Thesis


Parents’ physical discipline has been shown to adversely impact child socioemotional (McLoyd & Smith, 2002), and academic development (Gershoff, et al., 2016). However, no prior research has investigated the impacts of parents’ physical discipline in a process-oriented model. Therefore, we tested a developmental cascade model in which child externalizing and internalizing problems mediate the relationship between parental physical discipline and child literacy development. Data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study-Kindergarten Cohort, 1998-1999 (ECLS-K) were used to test a longitudinal mediation using a piecewise latent growth curve model. Results demonstrated that externalizing and internalizing symptoms mediated relationship between parents’ physical discipline and trajectories of child literacy. Furthermore, parents’ physical discipline during a child’s Kindergarten year predicted more externalizing and internalizing symptoms one year later and lower literacy skills in 8th grade. Overall, findings suggest that parents’ physical discipline may have cascading detrimental impacts on child literacy development through problem behaviors.


Attribute NameValues
Author Dianna Tran
Contributor Lijuan (Peggy) Wang, Committee Member
Contributor Julia Braungart-Rieker, Research Director
Contributor Kristin Valentino, Committee Member
Degree Level Master's Thesis
Degree Discipline Psychology
Degree Name MA
Banner Code

Defense Date
  • 2018-08-10

Submission Date 2018-08-20
  • internalizing

  • piecewise latent growth curve

  • longitudinal mediation

  • child socioemotional

  • externalizing

  • child academic

  • literacy

  • developmental cascades

  • physical discipline

  • parental discipline

  • child problem behaviors

Record Visibility and Access Public
Content License
  • All rights reserved

Departments and Units
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