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Parenting, relational aggression, and borderline personality features: Associations over time in a Russian longitudinal sample

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 July 2014

David A. Nelson
Brigham Young University
Sarah M. Coyne
Brigham Young University
Savannah M. Swanson
Brigham Young University
Craig H. Hart
Brigham Young University
Joseph A. Olsen
Brigham Young University
E-mail address:


Crick, Murray-Close, and Woods (2005) encouraged the study of relational aggression as a developmental precursor to borderline personality features in children and adolescents. A longitudinal study is needed to more fully explore this association, to contrast potential associations with physical aggression, and to assess generalizability across various cultural contexts. In addition, parenting is of particular interest in the prediction of aggression or borderline personality disorder. Early aggression and parenting experiences may differ in their long-term prediction of aggression or borderline features, which may have important implications for early intervention. The currrent study incorporated a longitudinal sample of preschool children (84 boys, 84 girls) living in intact, two-parent biological households in Voronezh, Russia. Teachers provided ratings of children's relational and physical aggression in preschool. Mothers and fathers also self-reported their engagement in authoritative, authoritarian, permissive, and psychological controlling forms of parenting with their preschooler. A decade later, 70.8% of the original child participants consented to a follow-up study in which they completed self-reports of relational and physical aggression and borderline personality features. The multivariate results of this study showed that preschool relational aggression in girls predicted adolescent relational aggression. Preschool aversive parenting (i.e., authoritarian, permissive, and psychologically controlling forms) significantly predicted aggression and borderline features in adolescent females. For adolescent males, preschool authoritative parenting served as a protective factor against aggression and borderline features, whereas authoritarian parenting was a risk factor for later aggression.

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