How does parenting affect relational aggression in children? The goal of the present series of meta-analyses based on 48 studies (28,097 children) was to analyze and integrate the findings on the associations between various types of parenting behaviors and relational aggression, and to identify potential substantive and methodological factors that may moderate these associations. To distinguish between different parenting strategies, experts sorted the parenting measures used in the studies into 10 groups. Results of a multiple correspondence analysis revealed four separate clusters: Positive parenting, psychologically controlling parenting, negative/harsh parenting, and uninvolved parenting. The meta-analyses demonstrated that more positive parenting was associated with less relational aggression (combined effect sizes r=-06, p<.05, for mothers, r=-08, p<.01, for fathers). More harsh parenting (combined effect sizes r=.11, p<.01, for mothers, r=.12, p<.01, for fathers) and more uninvolved parenting (combined effect sizes r=.07, p<.01, for mothers, absent for fathers) were associated with increased relational aggression. Paternal psychologically controlling parenting was positively related to relational aggression (r=.05, p<.01), whereas maternal psychologically controlling parenting was not (combined effect sizes r=.04, p=.09). The effect of several moderators is discussed. The findings of this study suggest that dimensions of positive and negative parenting behaviors of mothers and fathers are associated with children's relational aggression and that these associations are - in case of fathers - contingent upon a number of sampling and procedural characteristics.

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Developmental Review
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Kawabata, Y., Alink, L. R. A., Tseng, W.-L., van IJzendoorn, R., & Crick, N. R. (2011). Maternal and paternal parenting styles associated with relational aggression in children and adolescents: A conceptual analysis and meta-analytic review. Developmental Review (Vol. 31, pp. 240–278). doi:10.1016/j.dr.2011.08.001