Derisive Parenting Fosters Dysregulated Anger in Adolescent Children and Subsequent Difficulties with Peers

Abstract

Bullying and victimization are manifest in the peer social world, but have origins in the home. Uncertainty surrounds the mechanisms that convey problems between these settings. The present study describes the indirect transmission of hostility and coercion from parents to adolescent children through emotional dysregulation. In this model, derisive parenting—behaviors that demean or belittle children—fosters dysregulated anger, which precipitates peer difficulties. A total of 1409 participants (48% female; Mage = 13.4 years at the outset) were followed across secondary school (Grades 7–9) for three consecutive years. The results indicated that derisive parenting in Grade 7 was associated with increases in adolescent dysregulated anger from Grade 7 to 8, which, in turn, was associated with increases in bullying and victimization from Grade 8 to 9. The findings suggest that parents who are derisive, have children who struggle with emotional regulation and, ultimately, with constructive peer relationships.

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Authors’ Contributions

D.D. participated in the design of the study, performed the statistical analysis, and prepared the manuscript. B.L. assisted in the conception of the study, participated in its design and coordination, and assisted in the preparation of the manuscript; O.V. participated in the design, and helped perform the statistical analysis and interpretation of the data, and helped draft the manuscript; H.S. conceived of the study, participated in the design and coordination of the study, and helped to draft the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Funding

This study was funded by The Research Council for Working Life and Social Science of Sweden (grant number 2004-1981). Support for the preparation of this manuscript was provided to Brett Laursen by the US National Science Foundation (grant numbers 0909733 and 162094), and by the US National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (grant HD096457).

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The datasets generated and/or analyzed during the current study are not publicly available but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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This study was part of a larger project entitled “utsatta ungdomar i utsatta omraden” (translation: vulnerable young people in vulnerable areas). The original project was approved by the regional ethics board in Uppsala (protocol # EPN 2007/094). All procedures performed in studies involving human participants of this original project were in accordance with the ethical standards of the University of Uppsala, Sweden, and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Dickson, D.J., Laursen, B., Valdes, O. et al. Derisive Parenting Fosters Dysregulated Anger in Adolescent Children and Subsequent Difficulties with Peers. J Youth Adolescence 48, 1567–1579 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-019-01040-z

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Keywords

  • Parenting
  • Emotion dysregulation
  • Bullying
  • Victimization