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J Interpers Violence. 2019 Jun 13:886260519854558. doi: 10.1177/0886260519854558. [Epub ahead of print]

Parental Harsh Discipline and Preschooler's Inhibitory Control in China: Bidirectional Relations and Gender Differences.

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1 Beijing Key Laboratory of Learning and Cognition, Research Center for Child Development, School of Psychology, Capital Normal University, Beijing, P. R. China.


The goals of this study were to examine the bidirectional associations between parental harsh discipline and Chinese preschool children's inhibitory control and to further explore the possible gender differences in these associations. Participants were Chinese preschool children and their parents. At Time 1 (T1) and Time 2 (T2), both fathers and mothers, respectively, reported their use of psychological aggression and corporal punishment, and children's inhibitory control was assessed by laboratory tasks and maternal rating. Structural equation modeling revealed that child inhibitory control significantly predicted both paternal and maternal psychological aggression and corporal punishment 1 year later, but the predictions from both types of parental harsh discipline to child inhibitory control were nonsignificant. Multiple-group analyses further suggested that boys' but not girls' inhibitory control could significantly predict paternal corporal punishment 1 year later, and no child gender differences existed for parental psychological aggression or for maternal corporal punishment. The findings suggest that the longitudinal associations between parental hash discipline and preschool children's inhibitory control in China may differ according to the types of harsh discipline and parental and children's gender.


bidirectional; corporal punishment; gender difference; inhibitory control; psychological aggression


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