African American acculturation as a mediator between childhood disciplinary experience and conflict management in adult romantic relationships

Natasha D Williams, Purdue University


The objective of this study was to examine the possible mediating effect of African American acculturation on the relationship between childhood disciplinary experiences and conflict management in adult romantic relationships. There is a wealth of literature about the relationship between aggressive discipline and violence in adulthood. However, there is evidence that this relationship may look different for African American individuals. Additionally, there is not much research on aggressive discipline as a risk factor for victimization in adulthood, nor on any possible advantages to using nonaggressive discipline in terms of conflict management skills. The author tested a structural equation model using 329 African American participants 18-34 who had ever been in a monogamous relationship as an adult to attempt to fill these gaps in the literature. Participants completed a questionnaire including items about a parent’s disciplinary practices, African American acculturation, and pseudo-dyadic questions about both their own conflict tactics and those of their partner. Findings indicated that there is a strong relationship between childhood discipline, aggressive and positive, and corresponding conflict management tactics. However, acculturation did not mediate this relationship. Hypotheses and findings are discussed from a social learning perspective.




Nalbone, Purdue University.

Subject Area

African American Studies|Behavioral psychology

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