Maternal and Paternal Parenting Styles in Adolescents: Associations with Self-Esteem, Depression and Life-Satisfaction


Our study examined variations in adolescent adjustment as a function of maternal and paternal parenting styles. Participants included 272 students in grades 9 and 11 from a public high school in a metropolitan area of the Northeastern US. Participants completed measures of maternal and paternal parenting styles and indices of psychological adjustment. Authoritative mothering was found to relate to higher self-esteem and life-satisfaction and to lower depression. Paternal parenting styles was also related to psychological adjustment, however, although the advantage of authoritative mothering over permissive mothering was evident for all outcomes assessed, for paternal styles the advantage was less defined and only evident for depression. Our study highlights the importance of examining process-oriented agents as part of the broader interest in well-being variations in adolescents.

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Portions of this paper were presented at the meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association, Boston, March 2005. The research was conducted while the first author was an assistant professor of psychology at Kutztown University. The authors would like to thank Moshe Machlev, Melissa Leh, Ann Marie Kolb, Keri Spedding, Dan Zebrowski, Brad Christ, and Carole Walker for their assistance with data collection.

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Correspondence to Avidan Milevsky.

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Milevsky, A., Schlechter, M., Netter, S. et al. Maternal and Paternal Parenting Styles in Adolescents: Associations with Self-Esteem, Depression and Life-Satisfaction. J Child Fam Stud 16, 39–47 (2007).

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  • Parenting styles
  • Self-esteem
  • Depression
  • Life-satisfaction
  • Adolescence