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The impact of parental control and support on the development of chronic self-regulatory focus

Doğruyol, Burak
This study examined the interplay between parenting behaviors and self-regulatory focus in a sample of 320 university freshmen. Considering the theoretical assumptions and cultural differences, it is expected that specific parenting behaviors predict prevention and/or promotion self-regulatory focus. Especially, the dimensions of parental psychological control were expected to predict prevention focus. Participants completed multiple measures of parenting behaviors and self-regulatory focus. Self-regulatory focus was measured using both direct and indirect measures (i.e., value domains) considering the theoretical formulations underlying the indirect measures. The measures of specific parenting behaviors included parental support, behavioral control, psychological control, and overprotection. Results suggested that psychological control mainly predicts prevention focus. Whereas parental blaming and love withdrawal predicted prevention focus, guilt induction predicted promotion focus under certain conditions. Besides, parental overprotection was related with higher levels of both promotion and prevention self-regulatory focuses. As expected, parental behavioral control was associated with lower levels of prevention focus and parental support was associated with higher levels of promotion focus. Examination of the relationships between both types of self-regulatory focuses and the subscales of indirect measure comprised of value domains yielded results contradictory to the original formulations. For instance, contrary to the theoretical expectations, value domain of security was strongly associated with promotion focus rather than prevention focus, signifying a potential cultural difference. Finally, results have suggested that direct and indirect measures of self-regulatory focuses do not consistently overlap and they may measure different constructs. Results were discussed on the basis of the previous work in this area and further exploration was suggested to clarify the link between direct and indirect measures of self-regulatory focus and their links to parenting behaviors.