Diana Baumrind

Diana Blumberg Baumrind is considered to be among  the  foremost  experts  on  parenting  in  the United States. She has also had a distinguished career as an academic researcher and commentator on the role of ethics and understanding of research findings. She has been awarded multiple national grants over a 40-year career devoted to family socialization and parenting research. Baumrind is the author of 58 articles in journals or as book chapters, as well as three books and monographs. She has also served as an editor and consultant to numerous professional journals and has been an esteemed member of multiple national psychology organizations.

Baumrind earned undergraduate degrees in both philosophy and psychology from Hunter College. She then completed graduate work at the University of California, Berkeley, earning her PhD in the specialty areas of clinical/social/developmental psychology. She served a postdoctoral clinical residency (1955–1958) at Cowell Hospital/Kaiser Permanente where she began to investigate families and socialization. In 1960, Baumrind began her association with the UC Berkeley Institute of Human Development, where she has remained her entire career.

Baumrind would come to develop a description and formulation of parenting styles and their impact on how children develop. As a single parent of three daughters, she chose research in part because the work hours allowed her more time with her family.

It was Baumrind who, in a series of reports, first identified styles of parenting she termed authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive. Observing children directly, as well as the parenting they received in their homes, she was then able to comprise a list of important parenting behaviors and compare those to how competently the children behaved.

Baumrind’s model of parenting styles examined parenting behavior on two broad dimensions: accepting, nurturing, and responsive behavior; and parental expectations, controls, and demands. Parenting styles were a subset of whether behavior was high or low on the dimensions. Her work has served as a useful system for characterizing parenting behavior as it impacts child development outcomes.

Among  Baumrind’s  contributions  are  critiques of research ethics in psychology and a defense of spanking as an appropriate discipline method within a parental repertoire of rewards and punishment strategies. Her honors include the G. Stanley Hall Award from the American Psychological Association (1988) and selection as an NIMH Research Scientist Award recipient (1984–1988).


  1. Baumrind, (1989). Rearing competent children. In W. Damon (Ed.), Child development today and tomorrow. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
  2. Diana Baumrind, http://ihd.berkeley.edu/baumrind.htm
  3. Vande Kemp, H. (n.d.). Diana Blumberg Baumrind. Retrieved from http://www.psych.yorku.ca/femhop/Diana%20Baumrind.htm