Conceptualizing parental autonomy support: Adolescent perceptions of promotion of independence versus promotion of volitional functioning.

Bart Soenens, Maarten Vansteenkiste, Willy Lens, Koen Luyckx, Luc Goossens, Wim Beyers, Richard M. Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

335 Scopus citations

Abstract

In current research on parenting, 2 ways of conceptualizing perceived parental autonomy support can be distinguished. Parental autonomy support can be defined in terms of promotion of independence (PI) or in terms of promotion of volitional functioning (PVF). This study aimed to establish the empirical distinctiveness of both conceptualizations and to examine their relative contribution to the prediction of adolescents' adjustment. The authors conducted 3 studies, 2 which sampled late adolescents (N = 396, mean age = 18.70 years, 79% female; and N = 495, mean age = 19.30 years, 74% female, respectively) and 1 which sampled middle adolescents (N = 153, mean age = 15.12 years, 70% female). Factor analyses pointed to the distinction between perceived PVF and PI. Structural equation modeling (SEM) indicated that whereas perceived PVF uniquely predicted adjustment ( ps <.01), perceived PI did not ( ps >.05). SEM also demonstrated that adolescents' self-determined functioning significantly mediates the relationship between perceived parental PVF and adjustment ( ps <.001). Results are discussed in terms of the type of autonomy that parents might want to facilitate among their adolescents to foster well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)633-646
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Volume43
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2007

Keywords

  • Adjustment
  • Adolescent perceptions
  • Autonomy
  • Independence
  • Parenting
  • Self-determination

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