The associations between parenting styles and proactive and reactive aggression in Hong Kong children and adolescents

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Previous research suggests that reactive and proactive aggression may be differentially related to family contextual (e.g. parenting practices) factors. However, the existing research has focused largely on children and adolescents from Western countries, and no study has examined the parenting–aggression association using a parenting style measure sensitive to Asian culture. In this study parenting styles (i.e. warmth, control and guan/training) and proactive and reactive aggression were assessed in a large sample of school children in Hong Kong, China (N = 4,175, mean age = 11.75). We found that: (a) both low warmth (in boys only) and guan (i.e. high expectation and close supervision, in both boys and girls) were associated with elevated parent-reported proactive aggression, (b) high restrictive control (i.e. dominating and rejecting) was associated with high reactive aggression (in both boys and girls) based on parent- or child-report data, and with high proactive aggression (in boys only) based on parent-report data, and (c) guan was also positively associated with parent-reported reactive aggression. Findings provide more information about the Parenting Inventory using a large Asian sample, and extend existing research on familial correlates of different types of aggression.

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