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Selected Development Project
Project Title

Coercive Parenting, Child Temperament, and Child Aggression: A Mixed Methods and Two-wave Longitudinal Study

Principal Investigator Dr Eva Lau Yi-hung
Area of Research Project
Psychological Studies
Project Period
From 1/1/2018 To 31/12/2019
  1. To explore Chinese parents’ beliefs on parental control
  2. To identify the bidirectional relations between parental control and child aggression
  3. To examine whether child temperament moderates the associations between parental control and child aggression
Methods Used

Study 1. The parents shared their experience of parenting and respond to questions developed based on a review of the literature, to assess: 1) parents’ descriptions of controlling parenting behaviors and 2) parents’ beliefs about the acceptance and effectiveness of parental control. Specifically, four hypothetical vignettes involving parents’ use of control (e.g. physical coercion and psychological control; see Table 1) in response to non-desired child behaviors were developed by the research team for this study. After reading each vignette, parents were asked to comment on the parent’s parenting behaviors in each vignette and to describe situations during the past two weeks when they used those controlling parenting behaviors.

Study 2. The lead teachers in each participating class provided ratings of physical and relational aggression for each participating child, while each participating child’s mother and father completed a survey to report on their own as well as their spouse’s parenting behaviors to reduce self-report bias at both Time 1 (i.e. November) and Time 2 (i.e. May). Family background and control variables were also measured. At the same time, the RA and student research assistants (SRA) visited each kindergarten to conduct child tasks to assess child temperament (Time 1 only) and aggression (Time 1 and Time 2)

Summary of Findings
While the child had low persistence, child physical and relational aggression was more positively predicted by fathers’ physical coercion than it was when child persistence was high.
  1. Intervention of child aggression can focus on reducing parental coercion.
  2. Intervention of child aggression through parenting can target children with low persistence/effortful control.
Selected Output
Biography of Principal Investigator
Dr Eva Lau Yi-hung is an Associate Professor of Department of Early Childhood Education of The Education University of Hong Kong. Dr Lau's research interest lies in family influences on children's school readiness and school adjustment. She also explores the influences of various parenting behaviors on children's social behaviors.
Funding Source
General Research Fund