Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 399–409 | Cite as

Parenting Strategies and Adolescents’ Cyberbullying Behaviors: Evidence from a Preregistered Study of Parent–Child Dyads

  • Nicole LegateEmail author
  • Netta Weinstein
  • Andrew K. Przybylski
Empirical Research


Little is known about how parents may protect against cyberbullying, a growing problem-behavior among youth. Guided by self-determination theory, a theory concerned with effectively motivating and regulating behavior, six preregistered hypotheses concerning parenting strategies of regulating cyberbullying behavior were tested in 1004 parent–child dyads (45.9% female adolescents; adolescents were either 14 (49.5%) or 15 (50.5%) years old). The results largely supported hypotheses: Parents who used more autonomy-supportive strategies—understanding the adolescent’s perspective, offering choice, and giving rationales for prohibitions—had adolescents who reported engaging in less cyberbullying than parents who used controlling strategies (especially using guilt, shame, and conditional regard). Further, this was mediated by lower feelings of reactance to, or a desire to do the opposite of, parents’ requests. The discussion focuses on the limits of this study to investigate reciprocal effects of adolescent behavior shaping parenting strategies—a critical agenda for future research—as well as the potential benefits of interventions aimed at increasing parental autonomy support for reducing cyberbullying and other problem behaviors in adolescents.


Cyberbullying Bullying Parenting Autonomy support Reactance 


Authors’ Contributions

N.L., N.W., and A.K.P. designed the project and the preregistration. N.L. drafted the manuscript and analyzed data. N.W. helped draft the manuscript. A.K.P. collected the data and gave feedback on the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.


This research was supported by a BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant, number SG171197.

Data Sharing and Declaration

Data, preregistration, and materials are available publically. Data can be accessed here:, Preregistration and materials can be accessed here:

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All study procedures were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all participants (both parents and adolescents) in the study.


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyIllinois Institute of TechnologyChicagoUSA
  2. 2.School of PsychologyCardiff UniversityCardiffUK
  3. 3.Oxford Internet InstituteUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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