The impact of parental control and marital conflict on adolescents’ self-regulation and adjustment

Harma, Mehmet
The current study aims to increase understanding of influences on and consequences of self-regulation in adolescence. Previous work has shown that higher levels of self-regulation are associated with greater social competence and lower levels problem behaviors. Past studies have posited that parenting and interparental conflict are linked to self-regulation and adjustment in childhood and adolescence. However, the mechanism underlying the potential effects of specific parental behaviors and interparental conflict on self-regulation and their unique effects on adjustment have been largely unexamined. It was hypothesized that parental psychological and behavioral control and interparental conflict would be indirectly associated with adolescent outcomes via self-regulation abilities. Besides, differential impacts of parental controlling behaviors on self-regulation were also explored. The study involved a sample of 300 students in the 6th and 7th grades and their mothers. Students completed self-report questionnaires on parental control behaviors, self-regulation abilities, and academic self-concept. Furthermore, mothers completed questionnaires including parental control, interparental conflict, self-regulation abilities of adolescents, and adolescent adjustment (i.e., hyperactivation/inattention, emotional, and prosocial behaviors). The mediational hypothesis was largely supported. Results suggested that perceived parental psychological control and interparental conflict predicted low levels of self-regulation and in turn, this predicted adolescent adjustment. Parental behavioral control predicted self-regulation abilities in adolescent-reported model only. As predicted, different parental psychological control dimensions had divergent impact on adolescent outcomes. Specifically, love withdrawal/irrespective parenting was associated with the highest adolescent adjustment. Results also showed that the interplay between paternal guilt induction/erratic emotional behaviors and monitoring was significant in predicting prosocial behaviors and perseverance of adolescents. Similarly, the significant interaction between maternal love withdrawal/irrespective and knowledge suggested that high maternal withdrawal combined with high parental knowledge may result in hyperactivation/inattention problems among early adolescents. Finally, two U-shaped curvilinear relationships were found between psychological control and adjustment variables. Accordingly, the relationship between paternal guilt induction/erratic emotional behaviors and low perseverance/monitoring; and maternal love withdrawal/irrespective and Turkish academic self-concept had curvilinear relationship. Theoretical, methodological, cultural, and practical implications of the findings were discussed considering previous literature.


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Citation Formats
M. Harma, “The impact of parental control and marital conflict on adolescents’ self-regulation and adjustment,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2008.