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Intersection of neighbourhood structure, parenting and externalizing behaviour: application of self-determination theory to parents

Liezille Jacobs
Ghouwa Ismail
Naiema Taliep


Little is known about parenting practices and how it intersects with neighbourhood structure and externalizing behaviour, in South Africa. This chapter presents the findings of parental reflections on neighbourhood structure and problem behaviours, which is one component of a study, that is situated within a child safety, peace and health project called the Ukuphepha Initiative: Demonstrating African Safety. The overall aim of the Ukuphepha Initiative is to decrease child intentional and unintentional injury rates in specific disadvantaged communities in the Western Cape and Gauteng Provinces of South Africa. The main research question this chapter will address is: how neighbourhood structure, parenting and externalizing behaviour intersect? This chapter will draw upon three focus group discussions and 11 interviews with parents in a community within the Western Cape Province. The focus group discussions and interviews explored the person-and-context-specific systems, which hampers child safety including cohesion in families and the community. The application of the self-determination theory illustrated that an understanding of the neighbourhood structure, parenting practices and externalizing behaviour, have become important pursuits, which prove that behavioural parental training is the most effective treatment.

Keywords: Self-Determination Theory, Neighbourhood Structure, Externalizing behaviour, Parental Training and Intervention

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eISSN: 1596-9231