Title

Experiences with Parental Aggression During Childhood and Self-Concept in Adulthood: The Importance of Subjective Perceptions

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

11-2003

Publication Source

Journal of Family Violence

Volume

18

Issue

6

Inclusive pages

361-367

DOI

10.1023/A:1026253700293

Abstract

That individuals' realities are subjectively constructed is a basic, fundamental concept in psychology. However, past research examining child maltreatment in relation to psychological functioning has only investigated the frequency with which parental aggression occurs. Here, adults' perceptions of the abusiveness of their parents' aggressive behaviors during childhood were investigated as a predictor of current self-concept. Participants (N = 119) completed questionnaires assessing the extent to which they experienced parental aggression during childhood, their subjective perceptions of their parents' behaviors, and their current self-concept. Results indicated that how participants perceived their parents' aggressive behaviors was a more important predictor of self-concept than was the frequency with which those aggressive parental behaviors occurred. How individuals characterize their experiences with parental aggression should be taken into account when examining the psychological effects of aggressive parental behaviors.

Disciplines

Psychology

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