Parental psychological control dimensions: Connections with Russian preschoolers’ physical and relational aggression☆

Abstract

a r t i c l e i n f o Parental psychological control generally consists of overinvolved/protective and critical/rejecting elements, both being linked to children's psychosocial maladjustment. The critical/rejecting element is multidimensional in nature, and few studies have explored this conceptual fullness. It is possible that some dimensions, if they can be statistically differentiated, are uniquely tied to various child behaviors. This may help resolve some of the inconsistency apparent across studies, such as studies of relational aggression. Accordingly, we examined the association between parental psychological control and childhood physical and relational aggression using a dimensional approach. Participants were 204 Russian preschoolers and their parents. The results revealed that dimensions of psychosocial control (i.e., shaming/disappointment, constraining verbal expressions, invalidating feelings, love withdrawal, and guilt induction) could be statistically differentiated, even though most dimensions tended to be significantly correlated. Furthermore, all dimensions, except for invalidating feelings, were significantly associated with childhood aggression, but predominantly in same-gender parent–child dyads. Psychological control is the practice of parents who " manage their children's behavior through manipulation of their children's emotions, intrusion on children's autonomous activity, or restriction of their children's range of experiences " (McShane & Hastings, 2009, p. 481). From toddlerhood through adolescence, studies show that psychological control is consistently associated with child maladjustment. In this paper, we focus on a preschool sample, a valuable age period in which to assess parenting correlates of child behavior. Specifically, children of this age may be more open to parental influence than children in later developmental periods. A fair number of studies have assessed parental psychological control in the context of young children's internalizing and externalizing behaviors. In regard to internalizing problems, Rapee's (1997) review pointed to parental rejection and inappropriate control as key factors associated with children's anxiety and depression. In the past decade, studies of psychological control in early childhood have further confirmed Rapee's summary, with both overinvolved/protective and criti-cal/rejecting elements of psychological control being consistently tied to anxiety and depression. For example, Bayer, Sanson, and Hemphill (2006) found that overinvolved/protective psychological control was positively associated with the development of internalizing difficulties in two-year-olds. McShane and Hastings (2009) found maternal overprotection and paternal critical control to be associated with preschoolers' internalizing problems and anxiety. Moreover, children's anxious behaviors predicted parents' overprotection and critical control , suggesting a bidirectional influence at work. Beyond bidirectional influences, Mills et al. (2007) showed how the psychological status …

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@inproceedings{Nelson2015ParentalPC, title={Parental psychological control dimensions: Connections with Russian preschoolers’ physical and relational aggression☆}, author={David A. Nelson and Chongming Yang and Sarah M. Coyne and Joseph Olsen and Craig H . Hart}, year={2015} }