The Gender Perspective on Parent-to-child Aggression: Gender and Gender-constellations

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Parent-to-child aggressive behavior is a common risk factor for children’s health. Gender is correlated also to the odds of using aggression and the odds of being a victim of aggression. Yet, only few studies have considered the constellation of perpetrator’s and victim’s gender as a factor of parental aggression. The current study addresses parent-to-child aggressive behavior while focusing on the constellation of perpetrator’s and victim’s gender (i.e., mother–daughter, mother–son, father–daughter, father–son). It utilizes a community sample of Israeli university students (N = 508), 78% of which are female, on average 25.67 years of age (SD = 8.29). The participants reported the incidence and frequency of verbal and physical aggressive behavior of their parents against them during the years of middle school. The results show gender and gender-constellation to be significantly correlated with parental aggression. Overall, sons were more likely to suffer both verbal and physical aggression from their parents than daughters were. Only paternal verbal and physical aggression was more common against daughters, and only maternal verbal and physical aggression was more common against sons. Parental verbal and physical aggression from both parents were more common against sons. For all types and forms of parental aggression, daughters reported higher frequencies. These results suggest that while parent’s gender might predict their overall aggressive behavior, and child’s gender might predict their overall odds to be victimized by parental aggression, gender-constellation might create gender-specific selective patterns of parental aggressive behavior. Thus, the theoretical contribution of this study is in emphasizing that gender-constellations have an explanatory value beyond gender alone. These findings might be valuable to assess the risk of daughters and sons to suffer parental aggression, and for practitioners to provide apt professional response.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 SAGE Publications.

Keywords

  • gender
  • gender-constellation
  • gender-interaction
  • parent-to-child violence
  • parental aggression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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