Beyond independent children and authoritative parenting: Korean mothers' perspective

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Child and Family Studies


Jaipul L. Roopnarine


Independent children, Authoritative parenting, Korean, Mothers, Childrearing

Subject Categories

Developmental Psychology | Education | Family, Life Course, and Society | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology


Following the tenets of sociohistorical and ecocultural theories of parent-child socialization, this study attempted to build on previous work on parenting across cultures by examining mothers' beliefs about childhood independence and characteristics of a desirable mother, and by exploring contemporary childrearing patterns in Korean families. A sample of 310 Korean mothers of 3- to 6-year-old children were administered the Parental Acceptance Rejection/Control Questionnaire (PARQ/Control: Rohner, 1991) and the Parental Devotion and Parental Discipline Questionnaire (PDPD) in order to assess parental acceptance, control, devotion, and discipline. Interviews were conducted on a subgroup of 90 mothers. Factor analyses conducted on the two scales indicated that both showed good internal consistency, and that the factor structure on the PARQ/Control was fairly consistent with previous research; two factors emerged on the PDPD scale. A cluster analysis performed on the factors obtained on the PARQ/Control and the PDPD scales revealed that if data were gathered using the PARQ/Control only, an incomplete picture on Korean mothers' parenting styles would have emerged. That is, they would have been viewed as neglecting/rejecting or permissive parents. With the inclusion of the PDPD scale, a more accurate appraisal of contemporary Korean mothers' parenting styles was obtained. The qualitative analyses suggested that Korean mothers value individual agency within a collectivistic orientation. Their responses to what are the desirable characteristics of a mother included: devotion (41.3%), devotion with discipline (31.2%), authoritative parenting (20%), and expressing individuality (7.8%). The data are discussed in terms of the cultural meaning of parenting vis-à-vis established paradigms on childrearing and maternal ideas about development.


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