Baumrind, Diana

views updated May 23 2018

Baumrind, Diana 1927-




Diana Baumrinds seminal work on research ethics and parenting styles has shaped research and practice since the 1960s. Baumrind earned her undergraduate degree from Hunter College in 1948 and her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1955. Following a postdoctoral residency at Cowell Hospital, Baumrind joined the Institute of Human Development at the University of California, Berkeley, where she heads the Family Socialization and Developmental Competence Project as of 2007.


In response to Stanley Milgrams 1963 study of obedience to authority, Baumrind published an influential commentary on research ethics (1964). Baumrind has continued to address ethical issues in research on humans through consultation with the American Psychological Association and published work. On the use of deception in research, Baumrind has emphasized multiple levels of potential harm: to the participant, to the credibility of psychology as a profession, and to society.


In 1966 Baumrind published a ground-breaking article on parenting styles, followed by a 1967 article with Allen Black examining the effects of parenting styles on girls and boys development. Baumrinds three parenting styles involve different combinations of parental demand and control (confrontation, monitoring, consistent discipline, punishment) and responsiveness and affection (warmth, attachment, reciprocity, friendly discourse). Authoritative parents are moderately to highly demanding and highly responsive. Their children tend to be assertive, able to regulate themselves, socially responsible, and respectful to adults. Authoritarian parents are highly demanding and unresponsive to their children. Children of authoritarian parents tend to be moody, fearful of new situations, and low in self-esteem. Permissive parents are undemanding and nondirective. They are responsive to their children and avoid confrontation. Their children tend to be creative, sociable, and friendly, but may also be impulsive, aggressive, and resistant to limit setting. In 1983 Eleanor Maccoby and John Martin proposed a fourth style, unin-volved parenting. Uninvolved parents are undemanding and unresponsive, and their children may participate in deviant or high-risk behaviors.

Baumrinds typology has formed the foundation for much research on parental socialization of children and childrens developmental outcomes. In her own work, Baumrind has examined parenting styles in parents of children of preschool age through adolescence. Outcomes that Baumrind has examined encompass academic achievement, emotion regulation, moral development, peer relations, social skills, substance abuse, and teenage sexuality. Baumrind has found authoritative parenting to be associated with better outcomes for children. This parenting style provides a model for children of care and concern for others needs and of confident and controlled behavior. Beginning in the late 1980s, researchers expanded Baumrinds paradigm to families with low incomes and from diverse cultural backgrounds. Despite cultural differences in the degree of endorsement of different parenting styles and in the strength of the association of authoritative parenting with better outcomes in children, Baumrinds typology has been largely supported.

More controversial has been Baumrinds stance on physical punishment. While Baumrind argues that occasional, mild physical punishment may not lead to negative long-term outcomes in children when used as part of an overall authoritative parenting style, other researchers contend that parents greater use of physical punishment is associated with negative outcomes in children and that such use may escalate to physical abuse (Gershoff 2002b, p. 609). A point of agreement is that cultural norms regarding physical punishment influence the extent to which such punishment is perceived as harsh and is likely to have negative outcomes.

SEE ALSO Milgram, Stanley; Parenting Styles


Baumrind, Diana. 1964. Some Thoughts on Ethics of Research: After Reading Milgrams Behavioral Study of Obedience. American Psychologist 19 (6): 421423.

Baumrind, Diana. 1966. Effects of Authoritative Control on Child Behavior. Child Development 37 (4): 887907.

Baumrind, Diana. 1996. Parenting: The Discipline Controversy Revisited. Family Relations 45 (4): 405414.

Baumrind, Diana, and Allen E. Black. 1967. Socialization Practices Associated with Dimensions of Competence in Preschool Boys and Girls. Child Development 38 (2): 291327.

Gershoff, Elizabeth Thompson. 2002a. Corporal Punishment by Parents and Associated Child Behaviors and Experiences: A Meta-analytic and Theoretical Review. Psychological Bulletin 128 (4): 539579.

Gershoff, Elizabeth Thompson. 2002b. Corporal Punishment, Physical Abuse, and the Burden of Proof: Reply to Baumrind, Larzelere, and Cowan (2002), Holden (2002), and Parke (2002). Psychological Bulletin 128 (4): 602611.

Maccoby, Eleanor, and John Martin. 1983. Socialization in the Context of the Family: Parent-Child Interaction. In Socialization, Personality and Social Development, ed. E. Mavis Hetherington. Vol. 4 of Handbook of Child Psychology. New York: Wiley.

Milgram, Stanley. 1963. Behavioral Study of Obedience. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology 67: 371378.

Julie C. Dunsmore

Sarah Holland Omar

Baumrind, Diana (b. 1927)

views updated May 17 2018

Baumrind, Diana (b. 1927)

Diana Blumberg Baumrind is best known in the parenting and socialization literature for identifying and describing four basic parenting styles that have defined the field for researchers and practioners for more than four decades. In 1960 the psychologist Diana Baumrind joined the Institute of Human Development at the University of California, Berkeley, where she became the principal investigator for the Family Socialization and Developmental Competence Project. Baumrind has published numerous articles and book chapters on family socialization, parenting styles, developmental competence, moral development, adolescent health and risk-taking, and research ethics.

Baumrind identified and described four basic parenting styles that constitute variations in the values and practices of normal (i.e., nonabusive, non-neglectful) parents seeking to socialize and control their children. Parents, she wrote, hope their children and adolescents will have an identity grounded in both agency and communion, "validating simultaneously the interests of personal emancipation and individuation, and the claims of other individuals and mutually shared social norms" (1991, p. 747). The four parenting styles she identified involve different combinations of demandingness (confrontation, monitoring, consistent discipline, and corporal punishment) and responsiveness (warmth, friendly discourse, reciprocity, and attachment).

  1. Indulgent or permissive parents, whether they are democratic or nondirective, are more responsive than demanding. They avoid confrontation and allow self-regulation. Their children are friendly, sociable, and creative, but may also be verbally impulsive, aggressive, and resistant to limit-setting.
  2. Authoritarian parents are highly demanding, directive, and nonresponsive. They are obedience- and status-oriented, and they create well-ordered, structured environments with clearly stated rules. They are often highly intrusive, modeling aggressive modes of conflict resolution. Their children are typically moody, fearful of new situations, and low in self-esteem.
  3. Authoritative parents are both demanding and responsive. They monitor behavior, impart clear standards, and are assertive without being intrusive or restrictive. Their disciplinary methods are supportive rather than punitive. This style is generally regarded as optimal for the development of social competence, which includes assertiveness, social responsibility, self-regulation, cooperation, and respect for parents.
  4. Uninvolved parents are low in both responsiveness and demandingness. At the extremes, these parents may be rejecting-neglecting and neglectful. Their children often engage in deviant and high-risk behaviors and are vulnerable to substance abuse.

Parenting styles also differ in the extent to which they are characterized by psychological control, which involves guilt induction, withdrawal of love, or shaming that lead to both internalized and externalized problems in children and adolescents. Authoritative and authoritarian parents are equally high in behavioral control, but authoritative parents are generally low in psychological control, whereas authoritarian parents are generally high in such control.

Baumrind's best-known single work is her 1964 article, "Some Thoughts on the Ethics of Research: After Reading Milgram's 'Behavioral Study of Obedience.'" The publication of this article brought Baumrind numerous invitations to reflect on research ethics. Baumrind's work on research design, socialization, moral development, and professional ethics is unified by her belief that individual rights and responsibilities cannot be separated, her conviction that moral actions are determined "volitionally and consciously," and her assertion that "impartiality is not superior morally to enlightened partiality " (1992, p. 266).

See also: Child Development, History of the Concept of.


Barber, Brian K. 1996. "Parental Psychological Control: Revisiting a Neglected Construct." Child Development 67: 3296-3319.

Baumrind, Diana B. 1964. "Some Thoughts on the Ethics of Research: After Reading Milgram's 'Behavioral Study of Obedience.'" American Psychologist 19: 421-423.

Baumrind, Diana B. 1991. "The Influence of Parenting Style on Adolescent Competence and Substance Use. Journal of Early Adolescence 11: 56-95.

Baumrind, Diana B. 1992. "Leading an Examined Life: The Moral Dimension of Daily Conduct." In The Role of Values in Psychology and Human Development, ed. William M. Kurtines, Margarita Axmitia, and Jacob L. Gewirtz. New York: Wiley.

Hendrika Vande Kemp