Recalled parental rearing style, self-esteem, and psychopathological symptoms in the general population

Petrowski Katja, Brähler Elmar, Kliem Sören, Ritzka Desiree, Zenger Markus


The enduring impact of perceived parental behavior on self-esteem as well as anxiety and depression in adults is still unknown. In a large random route sample (age range 18–92), 4,747 subjects were asked to complete questionnaires about recalled parental rearing, selfesteem, anxiety, and depression. Structural equation modeling was used, and the data from the mother and the father version of the FEE (a questionnaire for recalled parental rearing) were analyzed separately. A model proposing that self-esteem mediates the relationship between parental behavior and psychopathological symptoms fits the data rather well (CFI = .95, RMSEA = .05, TLI = .94). Hence, the recalled authoritative parental style is positively associated with self-esteem which, in turn, predicted the degree of anxiety and depression. This model holds to the same extent for men and women of all ages (18–92), thus reflecting the important role parental styles play in the occurrence of psychopathological symptoms throughout life.


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