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Incorporating adolescents' interpretations and feelings about parents into models of parental control
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work. (Center for Developmental Research)
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Much of research on parental control has focused on how parents can effectively regulate their adolescents. Barber contributed to this by theorizing that there are two types of control that have import during adolescence: behavioral and psychological control. In his framework, the absence of behavioral control increases adolescents’ externalizing because adolescents’ self-regulation is not promoted, whereas the presence of psychological control increases adolescents’ internalizing problems, through impinging on their psychological and emotional well-being. These conceptualizations, however, focus on parents’ actions, goals, and intentions. Little attention has been given to how adolescents interpret and respond to control in light of their own needs and goals. In this dissertation, a model was tested in which adolescents’ interpretations and responses reflecting their psychological needs are the intermediate processes linking control and adjustment. Using experimental methods, Study I revealed that adolescents interpret parental control. Contrary to Barber’s ideas, adolescents interpreted both high levels of behavioral control and psychological control equally negatively. Compared to moderate levels, adolescents viewed high levels as meaning that parents were being intrusive, and that adolescents were less competent and mattered less to parents. In Study II and III, the full model was tested. The results were consistent with the proposal that when control leads to youths feeling more over-controlled or less connected to their parents, their adjustment suffers. Thus, the effects of control were mediated by adolescents’ responses. In addition, this process depended on adolescents’ age and gender, as well as their acceptance of parental authority. Older adolescents, boys, and those who accept less parental authority tended to view control more negatively than younger adolescents, girls, and those who accept less authority. Across the three studies, the results suggest that when youths’ needs are taken into account, behavioral control acts much like psychological control, impeding adolescents’ adjustment. Discussion focuses on the implications for further research on parental control. It is concluded that it is important to consider adolescents’ perspectives or agency in theoretical accounts of parental control. Parents can only try to control their adolescents, and their success or failure should be viewed as a joint process involving both parents and their adolescents.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro university , 2010. , 76 p.
Series
Örebro Studies in Psychology, ISSN 1651-1328 ; 19
Keyword [en]
adolescence, adolescent, parents, parenting, parental control, interpretations, feelings, needs, parent-child relationship, problem behaviors, self-esteem
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-10272ISBN: 978-91-7668-719-2 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-10272DiVA: diva2:306870
Public defence
2010-05-17, Hörsal L2, Fakultetsgatan 1, 701 82 Örebro, Sweden, Örebro universitet, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2010-03-31 Created: 2010-03-30 Last updated: 2011-04-26Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Adolescents' interpretations of parental control: Differentiated by domain and types of control
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Adolescents' interpretations of parental control: Differentiated by domain and types of control
2009 (English)In: Child Development, ISSN 0009-3920, E-ISSN 1467-8624, Vol. 80, no 6, 1722-1738 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

To determine whether adolescents interpret parental behavioral and psychological control differently, type, level, and domain of control were manipulated across 3 interpretations (adolescents’ competence, mattering to parents, and parental intrusiveness). As expected, adolescents (N = 67, M = 14.25 years) generally interpreted high levels of behavioral control more negatively than moderate behavioral control. At high levels, however, adolescents did not differentiate behavioral control and psychological control, interpreting both as indicating less mattering and more intrusiveness. Furthermore, high levels of control over personal domain issues, regardless of type, tended to be interpreted most negatively. In conclusion, adolescents construe control in ways that may have import for their adjustment and this should be accounted for in theoretical models of parental control.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-9122 (URN)10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01364.x (DOI)000271759000010 ()19930348 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-72449150601 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2010-01-18 Created: 2010-01-18 Last updated: 2017-02-17Bibliographically approved
2. The relationship of parental control to youth adjustment: Do youths' feelings about their parents play a role?
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The relationship of parental control to youth adjustment: Do youths' feelings about their parents play a role?
2010 (English)In: Journal of Youth and Adolescence, ISSN 0047-2891, E-ISSN 1573-6601, Vol. 39, no 12, 1442-1456 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Recent research suggests that youths interpret parental control and that this may have implications for how control affects youths' adjustment. In this study, we propose that youths' feelings about being over-controlled by parents and feeling connected to parents are intermediary processes linking parental control and youths' adjustment. We used three years of longitudinal data sampled from 1,022 Swedish youths in 7th, 8th, and 9th grade (47.3% girls; 12-17 years old, M age = 14.28 years, SD = .98) who were mainly Swedish in ethnic origin. We tested models linking parental control (i.e., rules, restriction of freedom, and coldness-rejection) to adjustment (i.e., norm-breaking, depressive symptoms, and self-esteem) through youths feeling over-controlled by and connected to parents. The overall model incorporating youths' feelings showed that restrictions and coldness-rejection were both indirectly linked to increases in norm-breaking and depressive symptoms through increases in youths feeling over-controlled. Parental rules still independently predicted decreases in norm-breaking and in self-esteem, and coldness-rejection predicted increases in norm-breaking. In addition, some paths (e.g., feeling over-controlled to self-esteem) depended on the youths' age, whereas others depended on their gender. These results suggest that when youths' feelings are taken into account, all behavioral control is not the same, and the line between behavioral control and psychological control is blurred. We conclude that it is important to consider youths' feelings of being controlled and suggest that future research focus more on exploring this idea.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York, USA: Springer, 2010
Keyword
Adolescence, parenting, parental control, adjustment, delinquency, depression
National Category
Psychology Social Sciences Social Work
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-10575 (URN)10.1007/s10964-009-9479-8 (DOI)000282828300006 ()19937370 (PubMedID)2-s2.0-77957988843 (Scopus ID)
Projects
10-to-18
Available from: 2010-05-04 Created: 2010-05-03 Last updated: 2017-02-13Bibliographically approved
3. How does parental control influence adjustment?: The case for adolescents' needs as mediators
Open this publication in new window or tab >>How does parental control influence adjustment?: The case for adolescents' needs as mediators
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-15381 (URN)
Available from: 2011-04-26 Created: 2011-04-26 Last updated: 2016-12-12Bibliographically approved

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