Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Second Department


Reader 1

Dr. Stacey Doan

Reader 2

Dr. John Milton


Parenting behavior has been shown to have a wide range of effects, influencing children’s psychological and biological stress outcomes. Most research focuses on maternal parenting behaviors, with few studies observing the effects of paternal behaviors or the influence of both parents on their children. In this study, the relationship between maternal and paternal parenting behaviors was examined in its association to predict children’s cortisol levels. Cultural differences in parenting styles was also observed. American (N=86) and Chinese (N=97) families participated in the study, with parents reporting their behaviors. Children’s cortisol was collected during a stressor task and correlational analysis was conducted. Overall, cortisol levels were higher in Chinese children than in American children. Results indicated that across both cultures, only supportive paternal parenting was a significant predictor in children’s cortisol levels. Additionally, there is a significant relationship within styles of parenting, indicating that mothers and fathers tend to have similar parenting styles.