Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 35–51 | Cite as

Mediators of the associations between parents’ conditional regard and the quality of their adult-children’s peer-relationships

  • Arlen C. MollerEmail author
  • Guy Roth
  • Christopher P. Niemiec
  • Yaniv Kanat-Maymon
  • Edward L. Deci
Original Paper


Parental conditional regard (PCR) involves parents providing or withdrawing affection to motivate children to do what the parents want. Numerous studies have demonstrated that PCR has harmful consequences for children. The present research examines associations between PCR and children’s later relationships with young-adult peers. We conducted two cross-sectional studies (Study 1: 118 participants, 73 women; Study 2: 120 participants, 89 women). Study 3 involved collecting data from both members of a romantic heterosexual dyad (109 couples). Study 4 involved participants interacting with a neutral accomplice (73 participants, 56 women). We found support for several mediators of the association between PCR and young-adults’ relationship quality: psychological need satisfaction (Studies 1 and 2), and projection of one’s own conditional regard onto a partner (Studies 3 and 4). Although longitudinal data are needed to establish causality, these findings suggest that exposure to PCR is negatively associated with adult-children’s peer relationship quality, and offers clues for disrupting this inimical association.


Parental conditional regard (PCR) Peer relationships Romantic relationships Projection Partner selection 



The authors thank Grace Kim and Jason Adler for their efforts managing data collection for Studies 1 and 2, respectively. We are grateful to Rachel Kornfield and Nadyah Mohiuddin for their thoughtful comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arlen C. Moller
    • 1
    Email author
  • Guy Roth
    • 2
  • Christopher P. Niemiec
    • 3
  • Yaniv Kanat-Maymon
    • 4
  • Edward L. Deci
    • 3
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Illinois Institute of Technology & Northwestern UniversityChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Ben-Gurion University of the NegevBeershebaIsrael
  3. 3.University of RochesterRochesterUSA
  4. 4.IDC HerzliyaHerzliyaIsrael
  5. 5.Australian Catholic UniversitySydneyAustralia
  6. 6.University College of Southeast NorwayHonefossNorway

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