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Dissertation: 21 Nov 2016 The Joint Effects of Parenting Styles and The Child`s Temperamental Characteristics in Children`s Social-emotional Development (Zarra-Nezhad)

Maryam Zarra-Nezhad. Photo: Ali Moazami-Goodarzi.
Maryam Zarra-Nezhad. Photo: Ali Moazami-Goodarzi.
MA Maryam Zarra-Nezhad defends her doctoral dissertation in Psychology ”The Joint Effects of Parenting Styles and The Child`s Temperamental Characteristics in Children`s Social-emotional Development”. Opponent Professor Luc Goossens (KU Leuven – University of Leuven) and custos Professor Kaisa Aunola (University of Jyväskylä). The doctoral dissertation is held in English. 

This research examined the joint effects of parenting and the temperamental characteristics of children on their social-emotional development during their early school years. Three studies, focusing on different aspects of social-emotional development as well as on different temperamental characteristics, were carried out. The first study investigated the extent to which mothers’ and fathers’ parenting styles differently impact their children’s social-emotional development, based on the children’s tendency to show signs of social withdrawal. The second study focused on the different impacts of parenting styles on children’s emotional expression, depending on the children’s temperament type. The third study examined the different impacts of parenting styles on children’s development of pro-social behaviors among shy and non-shy children. Three longitudinal Finnish data sets were used: 1) 378 children and their parents, followed from Grades 1 to 3; 2) 153 first-grade children and their parents, followed through the first grade; and 3) 200 children and their parents followed from 3 years of age to Grade 3. The results showed, first, that, during the transition to primary school, socially withdrawn, shy, or inhibited children overall benefited from parental—particularly maternal— affection more than other children in terms of their social and emotional development. Second, children with difficult temperaments were found to benefit from maternal behavioral control more than others in terms of decreased negative emotions during Grade 1. Third, although maternal psychological control increased first graders’ negative emotions independently of temperament type, socially withdrawn children suffered more under parental psychological control than nonwithdrawn children in terms of increased internalizing problem behaviors. Forth, interestingly, among children showing signs of social withdrawal, maternal psychological control was positively associated with pro-social skills and negatively with externalizing problem behaviors. Overall, the results suggested that parenting styles play a role in children’s social-emotional development, particularly among temperamentally vulnerable children, such as those showing signs of social withdrawal, shyness, or difficult or inhibited temperament.

Keywords: parenting styles, social-emotional development, social withdrawal, temperament types, shyness, diathesis-stress model, differential susceptibility model, goodness-of-fit.

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