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

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Abstract

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.

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

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Mageau, G.A., Bureau, J.S., Ranger, F. et al. The Role of Parental Achievement Goals in Predicting Autonomy-Supportive and Controlling Parenting. J Child Fam Stud 25, 1702–1711 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-015-0341-1

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