Childhood Personality Moderates Associations Between Parenting and Relational Aggression
Smack, Avante J.
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Negative or harsh parenting strategies are a risk factor for many maladaptive childhood outcomes, including relational aggression (Kawabata et al., 2011). However, research has not previously investigated whether the association between negative parenting and relational aggression is dependent on the personality of the child. This was the aim of the current study. Participants were mothers of 368 children (172 males, Mage = 11.61, SD = 0.82). Mothers reported on their parenting practices, their child’s relational aggression and their child’s personality traits. Analyses indicated that four child personality traits (extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness to experience) moderated the relationship between inconsistent discipline, but not other parenting dimensions, and relational aggression. Specifically, inconsistent discipline was associated with the highest levels of relational aggression in children low on trait Openness, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness and high on trait Extraversion. These results highlight the importance of examining child personality as a moderator of parental influences on psychopathology development.