Academic journal article Journal of Behavioural Sciences

Perceived Parental Rejection and Psychosocial Maladjustment: A Study of Convicts

Academic journal article Journal of Behavioural Sciences

Perceived Parental Rejection and Psychosocial Maladjustment: A Study of Convicts

Article excerpt

Parental acceptance-rejection plays primary and most influential role in determining children's behavior over life span (Khaleque & Rohner, 2012). Effective personality and psychological development of children is possible only when there is a positive parent-child relationship that begins to establish when parents provide unconditional love for the child as a special individual (Brooks, 2004). Therefore, parental warmth is an important ingredient in making the developmental process more effective (Hetherington & Parke, 1986).

Rohner's Parental Acceptance-Rejection theory (PARTheory) postulates that children all over the world, irrespective of gender, age, cultural variations, and socioeconomic conditions, need parental love and warmth for desirable social and emotional growth. Parents use various physical, verbal, and symbolic behaviors to express their feelings. Parental acceptance-rejection is commonly represented along a continuum reflecting the quality of the affectional bond between parents and their children. One end of the warmth continuum is marked by parental acceptance and the other end is marked by parental rejection. Parental acceptance refers to the parental love and care, whereas parental rejection reflects the neglect, detachment, negative attitude, and harsh/hostile treatment of parents towards their children (Khaleque & Rohner, 2012).

Personality sub-theory of PARTheory attempts to predict and explain major personality and psychological outcomes of perceived parental warmth and rejection. The subtheory elucidates in light of empirical evidences that a child's life would be positively influenced by receiving positive parenting and will be adversely affected if negatively treated by parents. Children who perceive themselves as rejected by parents are likely to be psychologically maladjusted as compared to those who perceive parental acceptance. PARTheory categorizes all such individuals as troubled (Khaleque & Rohner, 2012). Furthermore, frequency, severity, and type of parental neglect and rejection also determine the nature as well as the intensity of damage to the mental health of child sufferers. However, sometimes youth belonging to loving families also manifest psychological problems typically displayed by rejecting children. The negative personality or psychological consequences of parental rejection may include immature dependence, hostility, aggression, impaired self-esteem, impaired self-adequacy, emotional instability, and negative view of the world (Rohner, Khaleque, & Cournoyer, 2012). Empirical evidence suggests that it is not only maternal love and warmth, but the quality of father-child relationships, the amount of the time fathers spend with their children, and the activities that they share with them, all stand of equal importance for healthy psychological development of child (Lamb, 2004).

Numerous psychologists believe that negative parent-child relationship adversely affects a child's life as a whole (Andrews & Bonta, 2010). Anger, hostility, social maladjustment, drug-abuse, and low selfesteem are some of the negative effects of perceived parental neglect (Davies & Beech, 2012). Besides, parental hostility and rejection have been found to be strongly associated with socially deviant acts among children (Hoeve et al., 2009). As parental warmth is a necessary tool for children to guide them to follow societal norms and values, absence of parental concern mostly creates hindrance in their way of becoming desirable members of the society and increases their likelihood of acquiring disruptive behaviors (Brooks, 2004). Furthermore, early-life involvement in antisocial acts resulting from deprivation of parental love and care persists and transforms into future criminal behaviors (Smith, Hoeksema, Fredrickson, & Loftus, 2003).

Review of literature shows that numerous researchers have examined the impact of parental involvement in children's lives over the course of their developmental span (for instance, Ainsworth, 1989; Baumirnd, 1991; Andrews & Bonta 2010). …

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