Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 25, Issue 5, pp 1702–1711 | Cite as

The Role of Parental Achievement Goals in Predicting Autonomy-Supportive and Controlling Parenting

  • Geneviève A. MageauEmail author
  • Julien S. Bureau
  • Francis Ranger
  • Marie-Pier Allen
  • Bart Soenens
Original Paper


Although autonomy-supportive and controlling parenting are linked to numerous positive and negative child outcomes respectively, fewer studies have focused on their determinants. Drawing on achievement goal theory and self-determination theory, we propose that parental achievement goals (i.e., achievement goals that parents have for their children) can be mastery, performance-approach or performance-avoidance oriented and that types of goals predict mothers’ tendency to adopt autonomy-supportive and controlling behaviors. A total of 67 mothers (aged 30–53 years) reported their goals for their adolescent (aged 13–16 years; 19.4 % girls), while their adolescent evaluated their mothers’ behaviors. Hierarchical regression analyses showed that parental performance-approach goals predict more controlling parenting and prevent acknowledgement of feelings, one autonomy-supportive behavior. In addition, mothers who have mastery goals and who endorse performance-avoidance goals are less likely to use guilt-inducing criticisms. These findings were observed while controlling for the effect of maternal anxiety.


Achievement goals Autonomy support Controlling parenting Mastery Performance 



We thank the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) for funding this research.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Département de psychologieUniversité de MontréalMontréalCanada
  2. 2.Department of Developmental, Personality and Social PsychologyGhent UniversityGhentBelgium

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