The relation between harsh parenting and bullying involvement and the moderating role of child inhibitory control: A population-based study

Sari Hogye*, Pauline Jansen, Nicole Lucassen, Renske Keizer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
25 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Harsh parenting has been linked to children's bullying involvement in three distinct roles: perpetrators, targets (of bullying), and perpetrator-targets. To understand how the same parenting behavior is associated with three different types of bulling involvement, we examined the moderating roles of children's inhibitory control and sex. In addition, we differentiated between mothers’ and fathers’ harsh parenting. We analyzed multi-informant questionnaire data from 2131 families participating in the Dutch Generation R birth cohort study. When children were three years old, parents reported on their own harsh parenting practices. When children were four, mothers reported on their children's inhibitory control. At child age six, teachers reported on children's bullying involvement. Our results revealed that fathers’, and not mothers’, harsh parenting increased the odds of being a perpetrator. No moderation effects with children's inhibitory control and sex were found for the likelihood of being a perpetrator. Moderation effects were present for the likelihood of being a target and a perpetrator-target, albeit only with mothers’ harsh parenting. Specifically, for boys with lower-level inhibitory control problems, mothers’ harsh parenting increased the odds of being a target. In contrast, for boys with higher-level inhibitory control problems, mothers’ harsh parenting decreased the odds of being a target. Furthermore, for girls with higher-level inhibitory control problems, mothers’ harsh parenting increased the odds of being a perpetrator-target. Overall, our results underscore the importance of differentiating by children's cognitive skills and by parent and child sex to fully understand how harsh parenting and bullying involvement are related.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-151
Number of pages11
JournalAggressive Behavior
Volume48
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The general design of Generation R Study is made possible by financial support from the Erasmus MC University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw), the Dutch Research Council (NWO), the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and the Ministry of Youth and Families. The present study was supported by a grant from the Dutch Research Council (NWO MaGW VIDI; grant no. 452‐17‐005) and from the European Research Council (ERC StG; grant no. 757210). The authors wish to thank Renske Verweij, Gabriele Mari, and Joran Jongerling for their feedback and statistical support. Any errors or omissions are the authors’ own. The authors of the paper do not have any conflicts of interest to disclose.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Aggressive Behavior published by Wiley Periodicals LLC.

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