Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 37, Issue 1, pp 79–92 | Cite as

Correlates of parental control and autonomy support in an interdependent culture: A look at Ghana

  • Kristine N. Marbell
  • Wendy S. Grolnick
Original Paper


It is unclear whether, similar to research findings in Western societies, autonomy support is associated with positive child outcomes, and forceful control with negative outcomes in collectivist societies. A two-part study (N = 190 Ghanaian sixth graders) examined the relations of parental structure, control, and autonomy support in Ghana with child outcomes, and whether autonomy support was at odds with Ghanaian children’s values of interdependence and respect for elders. Results showed that structure was related to cognitive perceived competence, parental control was related to controlled regulation around school work and decreased academic engagement, and autonomy support was negatively related to depression and positively related to autonomous forms of motivation, engagement in school, and interestingly, children’s endorsement of collectivist cultural values. The importance of distinguishing between parental control and provision of structure, and the implication of the findings for understanding the role of parental autonomy support in diverse cultures, are discussed.


Parental control Autonomy support Culture Collectivist culture Self-determination theory 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyClark UniversityWorcesterUSA

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