Date of Completion
Honors College Thesis
Honors College, College of Arts and Science Honors
Jamie Abaied, Ph.D.
Brenda Solomon, Ph.D.
Keith Burt, Ph.D.
developmental psychology, parenting, parent-child relationships, rejection sensitivity, parental stress, psychological control
The period of middle childhood brings a developmental shift in social cognition. As children strengthen their social relationships amongst peers, teachers, and parents (Austrian, 2008; Grusec, Rudy, & Martini, 1997; Papalia et al., 2012), they also develop a stronger sense of self and the ability to think autonomously (Austrian, 2008; Papalia et al., 2012). Some children are more susceptible to negative perceptions of their peers and adults than others; one form of negative social cognition that emerges in middle childhood is rejection sensitivity. Rejection sensitivity refers to the tendency to expect, predict, and overreact to possible social rejection in both overt and ambiguous situations, especially among peers (Beeson, Brittain, & Vaillancourt 2020). There are multiple contextual factors that impact a child’s sensitivity to rejection, including peer relationships, teacher-student relationships, and parenting (Austrian, 2008; Papalia et al., 2012). The present study is designed to illuminate the role that parenting plays in the development of rejection sensitivity. Results indicated that, contrary to my hypotheses, psychological control parenting did not serve as a mediator of the relationship between parental stress and children’s rejection sensitivity. However, in partial support of my predictions, psychological control parenting was associated with higher levels of angry rejection sensitivity in children. This study contributes to our understanding of the impact of parental stress and parenting behavior on children’s rejection sensitivity, shedding light on the potential impact of children’s perceptions of parenting behavior on their social adjustment.
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Hewlett, Katherine E., "Parent Psychological Control as a Mediator Between Parental Stress and Children’s Rejection Sensitivity" (2022). UVM Honors College Senior Theses. 470.