Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 505–518 | Cite as

Domain-specific Parenting Practices and Adolescent Self-esteem, Problem Behaviors, and Competence

  • Nadia SorkhabiEmail author
  • Ellen Middaugh
Original Paper


In parent socialization research, it has been suggested that the specific practices parents apply to regulate different domains or areas of adolescents’ lives be examined to add greater specificity to domain-general studies of parenting styles or patterns and to better understand the link between parenting practices and adolescent adjustment. We examined from adolescents’ perspectives the parenting practices their mothers and fathers used when regulating different issues in different areas of adolescents’ lives. We examined 18 issues (e.g., grades, platonic friendship; smoking, fighting with siblings, choice of future career), classified into the moral, conventional, personal, and prudential domains, and multifaceted issues (issues that share features of more than one domain). We also examined whether domain variations in parenting practices are related to adolescents’ social and academic competence; self-esteem; internalizing, externalizing, attention, and total problems. Adolescents between 13 to 18 years of age (N = 182; M = 16.01 years of age; SD = 1.25) were interviewed (50 to 75 min) about the parenting practices their mothers and fathers employ for different issues. Adolescents also completed questionnaires on demographics and on their social and academic competence; self-esteem; internalizing, externalizing, attention, and total problems. Adolescent adjustment associated with some parenting practices (e.g., punishment) were domain-specific (e.g., positive in moral domain but negative in prudential domain). However, certain parenting practices (e.g., verbal hostility, coercion) were related to negative adjustment and others to positive adjustment (e.g., monitoring) irrespective of domains. The present study advances theoretical propositions regarding domain-specificity and domain generality of parenting practices.


Parenting practices Social domains Adolescents Problem behaviors Self-esteem 



This study was funded by an intramural SJSU University research grant to the first author.

Author Contributions

N.S. designed, executed, and wrote the paper. E.M. analyzed data and wrote results section.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Institutional Review Board at San Jose State University that approved the present study and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments. Both authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all parents, and informed assent was obtained from all adolescent participants in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Child & Adolescent Development DepartmentSan Jose State UniversitySan JoseUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Human DevelopmentUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA
  3. 3.Child and Adolescent Development Department San Jose State UniversitySan JoseUSA

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