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date: 17 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In this chapter, the hypothesis is explored that parenting processes buffer children’s physical health from the deleterious effects of discrimination. First, the existing empirical literature is reviewed on the stress-buffering effects of parenting on children’s physical health outcomes, with respect to the stress of general childhood adversity and the specific stressor of discrimination. Next, theoretical approaches are considered that account for the capacity of parenting to buffer contextual stressors, including discrimination, from compromising mental and physical health outcomes. Particular emphasis is given to the putative mechanisms potentially responsible for protective-stabilizing effects. Then, a critique of the extant research and theory on this topic highlights particular qualifications and considerations for the research community. Finally, suggestions are offered for future research directions, including the use of randomized prevention trials to test hypotheses about the protective functions of parenting in preventing discrimination from “getting under the skin.”

Keywords: parenting, discrimination, stress buffering, physical health, African American

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