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Does general parenting context modify adolescents' appraisals and coping with a situation of parental regulation? : the case of autonomy-supportive parenting

  • Van Petegem, Stijn
  • Zimmer-Gembeck, Melanie J
  • Soenens, Bart
  • Vansteenkiste, Maarten
  • Brenning, Katrijn
  • Mabbe, Elien
  • Vanhalst, Janne
  • Zimmermann, Grégoire
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2017
Ghent University Institutional Archive
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Theory and research suggest that adolescents differ in their appraisals and coping reactions in response to parental regulation. Less is known, however, about factors that determine these differences in adolescents' responses. In this study, we examined whether adolescents' appraisals and coping reactions depend upon parents' situation-specific autonomy-supportive or controlling communication style (i.e., the situation) in interaction with adolescents' past experiences with general autonomy-supportive parenting (i.e., the parenting context). Whereas in Study 1 (N = 176) adolescents' perceived general autonomy-supportive parenting context was assessed at one point in time, in Study 2 (N = 126) it was assessed multiple times across a 6-year period, allowing for an estimation of trajectories of perceived autonomy-supportive parenting context. In each study, adolescents read a vignette-based scenario depicting a situation of maternal regulation (i.e., a request to study more), which was communicated in either an autonomy-supportive or a controlling way. Following this scenario, they reported upon their appraisals and their anticipated coping reactions. Results of each study indicated that both the autonomy-supportive (relative to the controlling) situation and the perceived autonomy-supportive parenting context generally related to more positive appraisals (i.e., more autonomy need satisfaction, less autonomy need frustration), as well as to more constructive coping responses (i.e., less oppositional defiance and submission, more negotiation and accommodation). In addition, situation x context interactions were found, whereby adolescents growing up in a more autonomy-supportive context seemed to derive greater benefits from the exposure to an autonomy-supportive situation and reacted more constructively to a controlling situation.

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