Through a Cultural Lens: Links Between Maternal and Paternal Negativity and Children’s Self-Esteem

Naama Atzaba-Poria, Alison Pike

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


We set out to document how maternal and paternal negativity are related to children’s self-esteem during middle childhood in English and Indian families living in Britain. Although self-esteem is related to parental practices and parenting is a universal construct, the specifics of what may be associated with specific parenting practices varies across cultures. We hypothesized that due to distinct gender-based power structures, among the English families, maternal negativity would be related to lower child self-esteem, whereas among the Indian families, paternal negativity would be associated with lower child self-esteem. Children (aged 7-9.6) reported on their own self-esteem, whereas each parent reported on his or her parenting. We examined whether the correlations between parental negativity and children’s self-esteem were similar for, or specific to, English (n = 59) and Indian (n = 66) cultural groups, and whether parental negativity is related to children’s self-esteem in a similar way for mothers and fathers. British families living in West London participated in the study. For the Indian children, higher levels of paternal negativity were related to lower self-esteem, whereas, for the English children, higher levels of maternal negativity were related to lower self-esteem. Specificities in relationships (mother–child vs. father–child) and in cultural correlates are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)702-712
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cross-Cultural Psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 10 Jun 2015


  • children’s self-esteem
  • culture
  • fathers
  • parenting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology


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