African American youth, particularly those from single-mother homes, are overrepresented in statistics on externalizing problems. The family is a central context in which to understand externalizing problems; however, reliance on variable-oriented approaches to the study of parenting, which originate from work with intact, middle-income, European American families, may obscure important information regarding variability in parenting styles among African American single mothers, and in turn, variability in youth outcomes as well. The current study demonstrated that within African American single-mother families: (a) a person-, rather than variable-, oriented approach to measuring parenting style may further elucidate variability; (b) socioeconomic status may provide 1 context within which to understanding variability in parenting style; and (c) 1 marker of socioeconomic status, income, and parenting style may each explain variability in youth externalizing problems; however, the interaction between income and parenting style was not significant. Findings have potential implications for better understanding the specific contexts in which externalizing problems may be most likely to occur within this at-risk and underserved group.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01367847 NCT02191956.
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