The purpose of this study was to examine whether Western typologies of parenting (authoritative, authoritarian, permissive, and psychological control) and their dimensions (e.g., connection, regulation, physical punishment, verbal hostility) can be measured in the context of Japanese parenting. Based on the literature review, it was hypothesized that these parenting constructs are measurable in Japan. The participants were 214 Japanese mothers of preschool-age children (101 boys and 113 girls) from several preschools in Kushiro-city, Japan. A series of two-group (boys and girls) Confirmatory Factor Analysis was carried out with Mplus statistical software to test the measurement models of authoritative, authoritarian, permissive, and psychological control constructs and to establish measurement invariance across child gender. In addition, latent intercorrelations and gender differences in the means of the latent constructs were computed. To a large extent, our hypotheses were confirmed. In line with expectations, authoritative and authoritarian parenting items formed a 23-item, five-factor model. For psychological control, a 9-item, two-factor model emerged, indicating that the constructs of shaming and directiveness are also measurable in Japan. However, an invariant measurement model for permissive parenting could not be identified. Based on latent intercorrelations, many parenting dimensions were highly correlated, but a series of chi-square difference tests showed that most dimensions were statistically distinguished within our measurement models. Interestingly, shaming and directiveness were associated with dimensions of both authoritative and authoritarian parenting. Latent mean comparisons identified no significant gender difference in Japanese mothers' parenting patterns for boys and girls. This study was one of the first quantitative, systematic studies of parenting styles in Japan using advanced statistical modeling and represents a starting point for cross-cultural research in Japanese parenting.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Family Life; Marriage, Family, and Human Development



Date Submitted


Document Type





parenting, Japan, mothers, preschoolers