The Associations Between Perceived Harsh and Controlling Parenting, Shame Proneness, and Psychological Aggression Among Chinese Dating Couples

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Using dyadic data from 198 dating heterosexual couples (aged 18-31) in Mainland China, the current study tested the direct associations between perceptions of their parents' harsh and controlling parenting and psychological aggression and indirect associations via shame proneness. Results demonstrated that for women, greater perceived harsh and controlling parenting was directly related to higher levels of psychological aggression and indirectly related through higher levels of shame proneness. For men, perceived harsh and controlling parenting was not related to either shame proneness or psychological aggression. These findings provide initial insights into how shame, traditionally a valued and celebrated emotion in Chinese culture, can be maladaptive by contributing to psychological aggression in young adult intimate relationships. Although these findings merit further testing, especially for men, this study provides evidence that shame is an important mechanism for psychological dating violence.

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