Control or involvement? Relationship between authoritative parenting style and adolescent depressive symptomatology

  • Piko B
  • Baĺazs M
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Abstract

Among factors predicting adolescent mood problems, certain aspects of the parent-adolescent relationship play an important role. In previous studies, children whose parents had an authoritative style of parenting reported the best behavioral and psychological outcomes. Therefore, the main goal of this paper was to investigate the role of authoritative parenting style and other family variables (negative family interactions and positive identification with parents) in adolescents' depressive symptomatology. The study was carried out in all primary and secondary schools in Mako and the surrounding region in Hungary in the spring of 2010, students of grades 7-12 (N = 2,072): 49.2% of the sample were males; 38.1% primary school pupils; and 61.9% high school students. Self-administered questionnaires contained items of measuring depressive symptoms (CDI) and parental variables beyond sociodemographics. Beyond descriptive statistics and calculation of correlation coefficients, multiple linear regression analyses were applied to detect relationships between parental variables and depressive scores by gender. Overall, our data support a negative association between authoritative parenting style and adolescent mood problems, particularly among girls. Among boys, only mother's responsiveness was a significant predictor. Among girls, father's parenting played a decisive role; not only his responsiveness but also demandingness. Interestingly, mother's demandingness went together with an elevated depressive score for girls. Prevention programs cannot guarantee success without taking into account the role of parents. Teaching positive parenting seems to be a part of these prevention programs that may include facilitating intimate yet autonomous relationships.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Authoritative parenting style
  • Depressive symptoms
  • Mood problems
  • Parent-adolescent relationship
  • Protective factors

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