Parenting, the other oldest profession in the world – a cross-sectional study of parenting and child outcomes in South Africa and Malawi
CITATION: Sherr, L., et al. 2017. Parenting, the other oldest profession in the world – a cross-sectional study of parenting and child outcomes in South Africa and Malawi. Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine, 5(1):145-165, doi:10.1080/21642850.2016.1276459.
The original publication is available at https://www.tandfonline.com
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Parenting quality is important in child development. In the presence of HIV poverty and life stress, parenting may be challenged and child development affected. This study examines cross-sectional associations of situational factors such as poverty, mental health, HIV status, living with a biological parent, and stigma with good parenting and child outcomes (n = 989; age = 4–13 years) within the Child Community Care study (South Africa and Malawi). A parenting measure was created from 10 variables comprising 6 child and 4 parent ratings. These were highly correlated. Total parenting score was generated on a 10-point continuous scale, with a good parenting cut-off then defined as ≥8 out of a possible 10. Five factors were associated with good parenting. Positively associated with good parenting were being the biological parent of the child, parental mental health and dwelling in households with multiple adults. Poverty and stigma were negatively associated with good parenting. Using multiple mediation analysis, a positive direct effect of good parenting was found on child self-esteem, child behaviour and educational risks with a partial mediation via child depression and trauma. These data highlight possible intervention points. Influences on parenting could be seen through being the biological parent, parental mental health, poverty and stigma. In these challenging environments, health, nutrition, mental health, education and treatment to keep parents alive are all clearly identified as potential pathways to ensure child well-being.