Journal of Black Psychology
Adopting an ecological framework, this study examines the role of community violence exposure, interpartner conflict, positive parenting, and informal social support in predicting the social skills and behavior problems of low-income African American preschoolers. Participants were 184 African American mothers and female caregivers of Head Start children who completed study measures in a structured interview. Regression analyses revealed that greater community violence exposure predicted more internalizing and externalizing child behavior problems and lower levels of self-control and cooperation. Greater interpartner conflict predicted more internalizing problems. Positive parenting was predictive of fewer internalizing and externalizing problems and higher levels of child self-control and cooperation. Greater informal social support predicted higher levels of all four child social skills, including self-control, cooperation, assertion, and responsibility. Positive parenting and informal social support failed to moderate the relationships between community violence exposure and interpartner conflict and child outcomes. Implications of the findings for intervention and future research are discussed.