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The current study examined grouping patterns of parenting indicators in a low income-sample, using a person-oriented approach. Data were utilized from the Early Head Start Research and Evaluation Project (EHSREP; 1996-2010). A subset of the data that included parent interviews and video-taped parent-child observations when child was 36 months old, was examined (n=2,121). Four parent behavior indicators and two context indicators were selected to define the profile groupings: parent supportiveness, frequency of shared bookreading, parent-child activities; type of discipline; parent distress and family conflict. These six indicators were examined using latent profile analysis. Four distinct parenting profiles emerged: supportive, engaged but punitive, disengaged and punitive, and disengaged. Two profiles were more supportive of children’s early development (76% of the sample) and two profiles were less supportive (24% of the sample). The profiles are described and analyzed. The results of these analyses show that within what otherwise may be considered a homogeneous population, subgroups of parents with similar parenting patterns, but different from the other subgroups, exists. These distinct parenting profiles found in the Early Head Start program may help similar programs identify families who share these profile characteristics and tailor their services to better match the needs of these families.
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