Dad's rejection may hurt more than mom's

June 13, 2012 at 11:12 PM
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STORRS, Conn., June 13 (UPI) -- Parental rejection and acceptance helps shape children's personalities but a father's rejection may be more painful than a mother's, U.S. researchers say.

Study co-authors Ronald Rohner and Abdul Khaleque of the University of Connecticut analyzed 36 studies from around the world that involved 10,000 participants.

Rohner and Khaleque found children tend to feel more anxious and insecure, as well as more hostile and aggressive toward others, in response to rejection by their parents.

The pain of rejection -- especially when it occurs over a period of time in childhood -- tends to linger into adulthood, making it more difficult for adults who were rejected as children to form secure and trusting relationships with intimate partners.

"Children and adults everywhere -- regardless of differences in race, culture, and gender -- tend to respond in exactly the same way when they perceived themselves to be rejected by their caregivers and other attachment figures," Rohner said in a statement.

However, when it comes to the impact of a father's love versus that of a mother, results from more than 500 studies suggested children and adults often experience more or less the same level of acceptance or rejection from each parent -- but the influence of a father's rejection could be much greater.

The findings were published in Personality and Social Psychology Review.

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