When is Parental Monitoring Effective? A Person-centered Analysis of the Role of Autonomy-supportive and Psychologically Controlling Parenting in Referred and Non-referred Adolescents
Over the last few years, the protective role of parental monitoring on adolescent adjustment (i.e., active parental efforts aimed at setting limits and tracking adolescents’ activities and whereabouts) has been challenged. Recent research has shifted attention to the conditions under which monitoring may be more or less effective. Grounded in Self-Determination Theory, this study investigated the role of parents’ autonomy-supportive and psychologically controlling parenting in effects of parental monitoring on adolescents’ adjustment. It also considered the role of adolescents’ clinical status (i.e., clinically referred vs non-referred). Adopting a person-centered approach, we aimed to identify naturally occurring profiles of monitoring, autonomy-support, and psychological control and to examine differences between these profiles in terms of life satisfaction, positive affect, and internalizing and externalizing problems. Participants included 218 referred (Mage = 14.44, 56% girls) and 218 matched adolescents from a larger sample of 1056 community (Mage = 14.83, 52.9% girls). Multigroup Latent Profile Analyses revealed five parenting profiles which were structurally equivalent in both samples: high monitoring with either high autonomy support or high psychological control, low monitoring with either high autonomy-support or high psychological control, and an average profile. Referred youth were significantly more present in the average profile and in the profiles characterized by high levels of psychological control. As hypothesized, profiles showed a differential association with adolescents’ self-reported adjustment, with the high monitoring—high autonomy support profile yielding the most optimal and the low monitoring—high psychological control profile yielding the worst outcomes. Associations between profiles and outcomes were similar for referred and non-referred adolescents. These findings highlight the importance of considering the parenting climate (i.e., autonomy-supportive versus psychologically controlling) to understand effects of parental monitoring during adolescence.
ARM participated in the design and coordination of the study, drafted the manuscript, performed the measurement, conducted the statistical analyses, and interpreted the findings; MV helped to draft the manuscript and participated in the interpretation of the findings; BS helped to draft the manuscript and participated in the interpretation of the findings; AO participated in the design and coordination of the study, helped to draft the manuscript and participated in the interpretation of the findings; KB helped to draft the manuscript and participated in the interpretation of the findings; LAS conceived the study, participated in its design and coordination, helped to draft the manuscript and performed the measurement. All the authors read and approved the final manuscript.
This study was funded by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Professional Training by a research grant awarded to the first author (grant number: FPU 14/02888).
Data Sharing Declaration
The datasets generated and/or analyzed during the current study are not publicly available but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures involving human participants in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Biomedical Research Ethics Review Board of Andalucia (Spain) and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study and their legal guardians.
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