Parental Psychological Control and Children’s Relational Aggression: Examining the Roles of Gender and Normative Beliefs about Relational Aggression

Hung Yang Chen, Ching Ling Cheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Drawing on the information processing model for the development of aggression, children’s acquisition of aggressive responses could be associated with parenting that communicated norms favoring aggression. Extending this view, the present study examined the mediating role of children’s normative beliefs about relational aggression (NBRA) on the association between psychologically controlling parenting and children’s relational aggression (RA), and further explored whether this possible indirect effect would be contingent on the child’s gender. 341 upper elementary school students (174 boys and 166 girls) reported perceived paternal psychological control (PPC) and maternal psychological control (MPC) during their fifth-grade fall semester, rated their NBRA during their sixth-grade fall semester, and assessed RA through a peer-nomination procedure during their sixth-grade spring semester. Results demonstrated that the indirect effects of perceived PPC and MPC on children’s RA via their NBRA were both significant among the entire sample. However, by means of conditional process analysis, we found that whereas perceived PPC positively predicted boys’ and girls’ NBRA, perceived MPC positively predicted boys’ but not girls’ NBRA. In addition, children’s NBRA was only positively predictive of RA for girls. As such, the indirect effect was exclusively significant for perceived PPC among girls.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-175
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Psychology: Interdisciplinary and Applied
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Feb 17



  • Parenting
  • peer relations
  • sociocognitive development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • Education
  • Psychology(all)

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