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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 222434 Find in a Library
Title: Apples and Oranges: Divergent Meanings of Parents' and Adolescents' Perceptions of Parental Influence
Journal: Journal of Early Adolescence  Volume:28  Issue:2  Dated:May 2008  Pages:206-229
Author(s): Kathleen Boykin McElhaney; Maryfrances R. Porter; L. Wrenn Thompson; Joseph P. Allen
Date Published: May 2008
Page Count: 24
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Mental Health
Bethesda, MD 20852
Grant Number: R01-MH44934;R01-MH58066;F31-MH65711-01
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study tested the hypothesis that effective parental influence on adolescent children's behavior stems primarily from the qualities of the parent-adolescent relationship rather than from explicit parental efforts to control adolescents' behaviors.
Abstract: The study found that adolescents who perceived their parents as influencing their behavior reported the primary value of a warm, supportive relationship with their parents, particularly with their mothers. On the other hand, parents who perceived themselves as having an influence on their adolescents' behaviors believed that this influence was based in monitoring their adolescents' behaviors and limiting their freedom of choice about how they spent their time and with whom. Thus, parents gave more value than their adolescent children to the controlling patterns in the parent-adolescent relationship. Based more on adolescents' perceptions of parental influence than parents' own perceptions of their influence, this study concludes that the most effective form of parental influence must include a warm, supportive relationship that motivates the adolescent to comply with restrictions that parents impose. Thus, parents should appreciate that the exercise of control without a warm, supportive relationship with the adolescent may not be positively received by the adolescent. The sample was drawn from a larger longitudinal study of adolescent social development in familial and peer contexts. Participants were 167 seventh and eighth grade students (90 girls and 77 boys) and their parents. They were recruited from a public middle school composed of students from both suburban and urban populations of a city in the southeastern United States. Self-report data were obtained from the adolescents regarding their relationship with their parents or parent with whom they were living. Parents were asked to report on how they believed they influenced their children's behavior. Peer friends were also asked to report on their interactions with the adolescent study participants. 3 tables and 78 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency factors
Index Term(s): Adolescent attitudes; Parent-Child Relations; Parental attitudes; Parental influence
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