Siman Zhao

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science




Dr. Lynne Zarbatany


This study examined both the concurrent and longitudinal relations of child aggression and parenting styles to psychological and school adjustment in migrant children in China. Of particular interest was the mitigating effect of good parenting on the relation between aggression and maladaptation. The sample consisted of 544 migrant children at Time 1and 200 migrant children at Time 2. Children’s aggression was assessed by peer nominations. Data on children’s academic achievement and psychological adjustment were collected from self reports, peer reports and school records. Parenting styles were measured through mother’s self-reports. Hierarchical regression models revealed that concurrently, aggressive children with mothers who were warm, monitored their children’s activities, and encouraged their children to socialize with other children reported less loneliness, and greater self-perceived general worth than those with mothers who were low on positive parenting characteristics. Furthermore, maternal warmth attenuated the negative associations between aggression and peer preference, but this effect was more salient in younger than older children. Longitudinally, aggressive children tended to have higher academic achievement if their mothers were warm. The findings provide evidence that effective parenting styles might protect aggressive migrant Chinese children from social, academic and psychological maladaptation. Future research is needed to verify causal linkages between parenting and adjustment and to identify mechanisms of causal influence before appropriate interventions for aggressive migrant Chinese children are developed.



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