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Longitudinal effects of maternal love withdrawal and guilt induction on Chinese American preschoolers’ bullying aggressive behavior

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 January 2019

Jing Yu
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA
Charissa S. L. Cheah*
Department of Psychology, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD, USA
Craig H. Hart
School of Family Life, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, USA
Chongming Yang
College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, USA
Joseph A. Olsen
College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT, USA
Author for correspondence: Charissa S. L. Cheah, Department of Psychology, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD 21250; E-mail:


Bullying has been understudied among preschool children, especially those from Chinese American families. Previous research has also neglected the dimensional effects of psychological control on child bullying development. This study examined two psychological control dimensions, love withdrawal and guilt induction, and their effects on children's bullying aggressive behavior using a longitudinal design. Participants were first-generation Chinese American mothers (N = 133; mean age [Mage] = 37.82) and their preschool children (Mage = 4.48). Chinese immigrant mothers reported their psychologically controlling parenting and teachers rated children's bullying aggressive behaviors in the school setting. Confirmatory factor analyses were conducted to establish the psychometric properties and cross-wave measurement equivalence of the study constructs. Cross-lagged structural equation modeling analysis indicated that maternal love withdrawal prospectively predicted more bullying aggressive behavior, whereas guilt induction predicted less bullying aggressive behavior in children 6 months later. These results held after controlling for the initial level of children's problem behaviors and demographic variables (child age, gender, and maternal education). For child effects, child bullying aggressive behavior predicted more maternal guilt induction over time but not love withdrawal. Our findings highlight the importance of construct specificity and cultural context in understanding associations between parenting and child development.

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