Perceived parental rejection mediates the effects of previous maltreatment on emotional and behavioural outcomes in Chinese adolescents whereas mental illness has no moderating effect

Bo Xiao, Jianbo Liu, Jingbo Gong, Xuerong Luo


Objective: This study assessed the mediating role of perceived parental rejection in the relationship between childhood maltreatment experience and behavioural problems in Chinese adolescents.

Methods: A total of 2484 adolescents (1305 males and 1179 females; aged 12–16 years) from Hunan Province, China, participated in the study. Behavioural problems, parental rejection scores and child abuse experiences were evaluated by the Child Behavior Checklist (parental version), the Memories of Parental Rearing Behavior Scale and the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire, separately. Mediating effects were examined by structural equation modelling using Amos 20 software.

Results: The study found that perceived maternal rejection partially mediated the association between abuse and internalising behaviours in the male cohort, whereas perceived father’s rejection partially mediated this association in the female cohort. However, mental illness had no moderating effect on these relationships.

Conclusion: These results are consistent with the literature on maltreatment and parent-child relationships and provide empirical support for the view that emotional and behavioural problems related to perceived parental rejection underlie the development of psychosocial problems in adolescents.


maltreatment; mental health; abuse; parental-rejection

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Submitted: 08 October 2016
Published: 30 June 2017

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South African Journal of Psychiatry    |    ISSN: 1608-9685 (PRINT)    |    ISSN: 2078-6786 (ONLINE)