Harsh Parenting as a Predictor of Physical, Verbal, and Relational Aggression in Children

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Date
2014-04-15
Authors
Jackson, Russell
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Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression
Iowa State University Conferences and Symposia

The Symposium provides undergraduates from all academic disciplines with an opportunity to share their research with the university community and other guests through conference-style oral presentations. The Symposium represents part of a larger effort of Iowa State University to enhance, support, and celebrate undergraduate research activity.

Though coordinated by the University Honors Program, all undergraduate students are eligible and encouraged to participate in the Symposium. Undergraduates conducting research but not yet ready to present their work are encouraged to attend the Symposium to learn about the presentation process and students not currently involved in research are encouraged to attend the Symposium to learn about the broad range of undergraduate research activities that are taking place at ISU.

The first Symposium was held in April 2007. The 39 students who presented research and their mentors collectively represented all of ISU's Colleges: Agriculture and Life Sciences, Business, Design, Engineering, Human Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, and the Graduate College. The event has grown to regularly include more than 100 students presenting on topics that span the broad range of disciplines studied at ISU.

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Psychology
Abstract

Harsh parenting is positively correlated with aggression in children (e.g., Aucoin, Frick, & Bodin, 2006; Chang et al, 2003). However, little attention has been given to the potential relationship between harsh parenting and other types of child aggression. Harsh parenting is positively correlated with child aggression (e.g., Aucoin, Frick, & Bodin, 2006; Chang et al, 2003). However, little is known about harsh parenting’s relationship with other types of aggression. The current study ran a model of abusive parenting as a predictor of physical, verbal, and relational child aggression. Age, sex, and parental income were controlled. Results showed that harsh parenting was most strongly related to physical aggression (β = 0.24, p < 0.01), weakly, yet significantly, related to verbal aggression (β = 0.14, p < 0.05), and not related to relational aggression (β = 0.09, p > 0.05). Further analyses concluded that each relationship significantly differed from one another, indicating that harsh parenting better predicts child physical aggression than verbal or relational aggression, and does not significantly predict relational aggression. Social Learning Theory accounts for these findings. Presented with physically harsh parenting, children will act physically aggressive (more so than verbally or relationally). Future research should address potential links between various types of harsh parenting practices (verbal abuse and relational aggression) and their respective types of child aggression. A longitudinal study needs to be conducted to clarify the directionality in the relationship between harsh parenting and child aggression.

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