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Am J Public Health. 2012 Nov;102(11):2102-8. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2012.300698. Epub 2012 Sep 20.

High parenting aggravation among US immigrant families.

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  • 1Maternal and Child Health Bureau, 18A-55, 5600 Fishers Lane, Rockville, MD 20857, USA. syu@hrsa.gov



We examined the association between the joint effects of children's immigrant family type and race/ethnicity on parenting aggravation.


We analyzed data on a nationally representative sample of 101 032 children aged birth through 17 years from the 2003 National Survey of Children's Health.


Analysis of the Aggravation in Parenting Scale showed that 26% of foreign-born parents with foreign-born children were highly aggravated, followed by 22% of foreign-born parents with US-born children and 11% of US-born parents. Multivariable analyses indicated that all minority parents experienced high parenting aggravation compared with non-Hispanic White US-born parents; the odds of reporting parenting aggravation were 5 times higher for Hispanic foreign-born parents. All foreign-born parents, regardless of race/ethnicity, reported significantly elevated parenting aggravation. Parents of adolescents, children with special health care needs, and nontraditional and lower-income households were also more likely to report high parenting aggravation.


Our findings clearly document significantly elevated levels of parenting aggravation among immigrant and minority families. Public health programs and clinicians should target referrals and interventions for these families to avoid potential health problems for both children and their families.

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