Date of Award
Master of Arts
This study examined the relationship between parental negative talk, child aggression, and child assertiveness. Disruptive behaviors, such as aggression, have been studied multiple times, however, there is still more to learn about aggression. Few studies have examined assertive and aggressive behavior together with preschool children. Additionally, parenting is a substantial component of a child’s development and can impact their health and behaviors. One form of parenting is negative parenting. The current study focuses on a concept similar to negative parenting called parental negative talk. Currently, there is a lack of studies that examine parental negative talk. The current study included a twin sample of 290 5-year-old children and their parents from the Southern Illinois Twins/Triplets and Siblings Study (SITSS). The children and their parents participated in a 10-minute interactive puzzle task that was taped and later used to assess parental negative talk and observed child aggression. Additional measures used were personality and behavior assessments. No sex differences were found between parental negative talk, child aggression, and child assertiveness. There were no direct relationships between child aggression and parental negative talk or between parental negative talk and child assertive behavior. However, within family differences between parental behaviors and child behaviors revealed a significant positive correlation between parental negative talk and child aggression. Within a family, there was no relationship found between parental negative talk and child assertive behavior. The results from the current study indicated assertiveness was not significantly heritable. Overall, the results from the present study can assist in augmenting the current parent management training resources.
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