Harsh parenting and encouragement from parents during childhood: Long-term effects on well-being, mental health, and major illness
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This thesis examines long-term, negative consequences of various behaviours characteristic of negative parenting styles, specifically verbal maltreatment (insulting children), physical maltreatment (beating or hitting children), and lack of encouragement. Psychological scales were employed to explore the relationship of each of these factors to mental and physical health in adults. As a part of this research, a new questionnaire, the Arabic Parenting Style Questionnaire (APSQ), was developed and compared with existing measures.
Seven separate studies were conducted with Saudi Arabian participants in order to investigate the questions put forth in this thesis. To explore the impact of harsh parenting and emotional discouragement, the relationships of these variables to mental and physical health were examined in both non-clinical and clinical samples including both men and women and a broad range of ages (19 to 60 years).
Findings indicate that parents’ discouraging their children from expressing thoughts and feelings, and parents’ being verbally and physically harsh towards their children, are both powerful risk factors for a broad array of long-term health outcomes in both clinical and non-clinical samples. Various aspects of the individuals’ childhood relationships with their parents, as measured using the new APSQ, are significantly correlated with the following health- and wellness-related variables in adulthood: quality of life as assessed on the Global Quality of Life Scale (GQLS), health complaints as assessed using the Minor Health Complaints Questionnaire (MHCQ), well-being mood state, life satisfaction as assessed with the Life Satisfaction Scale (SLS), depression, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Borderline Personality Disorder, and specific physical diseases (asthma, cancer, heart disease).
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