Parental influences on relational social information processing during early childhood
Godleski, Stephanie A.
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The development of social cognition, such as hostile attribution biases, is a relatively understudied topic despite the association of hostile attribution biases with important developmental and clinical outcomes. From a developmental perspective, it is particularly important to understand the early development of biases regarding how the intentions of others are perceived, especially in the relationship context. Therefore, understanding potential antecedents, such as parental influences, of such biases in early childhood may be especially important. The current study ( N = 121) was designed to explore several gaps and limitations in the hostile attribution bias literature, especially the lack of research on hostile attribution biases for relational provocations and associated underlying mechanisms. In particular, this gap was addressed by investigating parental influences on hostile attribution biases for relational provocations in early childhood (i.e., 3- to 5- years-old). It was found that parent hostile attribution biases for relational provocations significantly predicted child hostile attribution biases for relational provocations. Further, it was demonstrated that parent relational aggression had an influence on parenting practices. Implications for research and practice are discussed.