Mothers’ and fathers’ autonomy-relevant parenting: Longitudinal links with adolescents’ externalizing and internalizing behavior.
Lansford, J. E., Laird, R. D., Pettit, G. S., Bates, J. E., & Dodge, K. A. (2014). Mothers’ and fathers’ autonomy-relevant parenting: Longitudinal links with adolescents’ externalizing and internalizing behavior. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 43, 1877-1889.
Abstract: The goal of this study was to advance the understanding of separate and joint effects of mothers’ and fathers’ autonomy-relevant parenting during early and middle adolescence. In a sample of 518 families, adolescents (49 % female; 83 % European American, 16 % African American, 1 % other ethnic groups) reported on their mothers’ and fathers’ psychological control and knowledge about adolescents’ whereabouts, friends, and activities at ages 13 and 16. Mothers and adolescents reported on adolescents’ externalizing and internalizing behaviors at ages 12, 14, 15, and 17. Adolescents perceived their mothers as using more psychological control and having more knowledge than their fathers, but there was moderate concordance between adolescents’ perceptions of their mothers and fathers. More parental psychological control predicted increases in boys’ and girls’ internalizing problems and girls’ externalizing problems. More parental knowledge predicted decreases in boys’ externalizing and internalizing problems. The perceived levels of behavior of mothers and fathers did not interact with one another in predicting adolescent adjustment. The results generalize across early and late adolescence and across mothers’ and adolescents’ reports of behavior problems. Autonomy-relevant mothering and fathering predict changes in behavior problems during early and late adolescence, but only autonomy-relevant fathering accounts for unique variance in adolescent behavior problems.