Parenting correlates of child behavior problems in a multiethnic community sample of preschool children in northern Norway

Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2004 Feb;13(1):8-18. doi: 10.1007/s00787-004-0349-3.


A multiethnic community sample of 191 families with four-year-old children in northern Norway was used to explore whether parenting factors were associated with child behavior problems, and whether these associations differed for boys and girls or for the two main ethnic groups in this region: the indigenous Sami and the majority Norwegians. The Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) and a semi-structured interview on child-rearing were used as instruments. As would be expected from a developmental perspective, elevated scores of child behavior problems were associated with lower levels of parental cuddling and with higher levels of physical punishment. Family demographics such as low maternal age and single parenthood were also associated with more behavioral problems. Girls seemed to be more strongly influenced by child-rearing factors than boys. Subgroup analyses suggested that for harsh treatment, patterns of correlations differed between Sami and Norwegian groups, especially for boys. A positive correlation between physical punishment and externalizing problems emerged for Norwegian boys, but not for Sami boys. Teasing/ridiculing was positively correlated with internalizing problems for Norwegian boys, but inversely correlated for Sami boys. These findings emphasize the importance of taking the child's cultural context and gender into account when assessing parenting influences on behavioral problems in children.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arctic Regions
  • Child Behavior / ethnology*
  • Child Behavior / psychology
  • Child Behavior Disorders / ethnology*
  • Child Behavior Disorders / psychology
  • Child Rearing / ethnology*
  • Child Rearing / psychology
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Female
  • Finland / ethnology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Norway / epidemiology
  • Parenting / ethnology*
  • Parenting / psychology
  • Regression Analysis
  • Rural Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Sex Factors
  • Social Class
  • Surveys and Questionnaires