Theory and research suggest that adolescents differ in their appraisals and coping reactions in response to parental regulation. Less is known, however, about factors that determine these differences in adolescents’ responses. In this study, we examined whether adolescents' appraisals and coping reactions depend upon parents’ situation-specific autonomy-supportive or controlling communication style (i.e., the situation) in interaction with adolescents’ past experiences with general autonomy-supportive parenting (i.e., the parenting context). Whereas in Study 1 (N = 176) adolescents’ perceived general autonomy-supportive parenting context was assessed at one point in time, in Study 2 (N = 126) it was assessed multiple times across a 6-year period, allowing for an estimation of trajectories of perceived autonomy-supportive parenting context. In each study, adolescents read a vignette-based scenario depicting a situation of maternal regulation (i.e., a request to study more), which was communicated in either an autonomy-supportive or a controlling way. Following this scenario, they reported upon their appraisals and their anticipated coping reactions. Results of each study indicated that both the autonomy-supportive (relative to the controlling) situation and the perceived autonomy-supportive parenting context generally related to more positive appraisals (i.e., more autonomy need satisfaction, less autonomy need frustration), as well as to more constructive coping responses (i.e., less oppositional defiance and submission, more negotiation and accommodation). In addition, situation × context interactions were found, whereby adolescents growing up in a more autonomy-supportive context seemed to derive greater benefits from the exposure to an autonomy-supportive situation and reacted more constructively to a controlling situation.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Alexander, C. S., & Becker, H. J. (1978). The use of vignettes in survey research. Public Opinion Quarterly, 42, 93–104. doi:10.1086/268432.
Altshuler, J. L., Genevro, J. L., Ruble, D. N., & Bornstein, M. H. (1995). Children’s knowledge and use of coping strategies during hospitalization for elective surgery. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 16, 53–76. doi:10.1016/0193-3973(95)90016-0.
Assor, A., Roth, G., & Deci, E. L. (2004). The emotional cost of parents’ conditional regard: A self-determination theory approach. Journal of Personality, 72, 47–88. doi:10.1111/j.0022-3506.2004.00256.x.
Assor, A., & Tal, K. (2012). When parents’ affection depends on child’s achievement: Parental conditional positive regard, self-aggrandizement, shame and coping in adolescents. Journal of Adolescence, 35, 249–260. doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2011.10.004.
Barber, B. K. (1996). Parental psychological control: Revisiting a neglected construct. Child Development, 67, 3296–3319. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.1996.tb01915.x.
Barber, B. K., & Xia, M. (2013). The centrality of control to parenting and its effects. In R. E. Larzelere, A. S. Morris, & A. W. Harrist (Eds.), Authoritative parenting: Synthesizing nurturance and discipline for optimal child development. Washington, DC: APA.
Baudat, S., Zimmermann, G., Antonietti, J. P., & Van Petegem, S. (2016). Maternal reaction to an adolescent alcohol use episode: Enforcing control will lead to change motivation? Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy. doi:10.1080/09687637.2016.1192584.
Blumer, H. (1969). Symbolic interactionism: Perspective and method. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Erlbaum.
Brandtstädter, J., & Rothermund, K. (2002). The life-course dynamics of goal pursuit and goal adjustment: A two-process framework. Developmental Review, 22, 117–150.
Bronfenbrenner, U., & Morris, P. A. (2006). The bioecological model of human development. In R. M. Lerner (Ed.), Handbook of Child Development: Vol. 1. Theoretical models of human development (6th ed., pp. 793–828). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Charness, G., Gneezy, U., & Kuhn, M. A. (2012). Experimental methods: Between-subject and within-subject design. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 81, 1–8. doi:10.1006/drev.2001.0539.
Chen, B., Soenens, B., Vansteenkiste, M., Van Petegem, S., & Beyers, W. (2016). Where do the cultural differences in dynamics of controlling parenting lie? Adolescents as active agents in the perception of and coping with parental behavior. Psychologica Belgica, 56, 169–192. doi:10.5334/pb.306.
Chen, B., & Vansteenkiste, M., et al. (2015). Basic psychological need satisfaction, need frustration, and need strength across four cultures. Motivation and Emotion, 39, 216–236. doi:10.1007/s11031-014-9450-1.
Cohen, J., Cohen, P., West, S. G., & Aiken, L. S. (2003). Applied multiple regression/correlation analysis for the behavioral sciences (3rd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Collins, W. A., Maccoby, E. E., Steinberg, L., Hetherington, E. M., & Bornstein, M. H. (2000). Contemporary research on parenting: The case for nature and nurture. American Psychologist, 55, 218–232. doi:10.1037/0003-066x.55.2.218.
Compas, B. E., Connor-Smith, J. K., Saltzman, H., Thomson, A. H., & Wadsworth, M. E. (2001). Coping with stress during childhood and adolescence: Problems, progress, and potential in theory and research. Psychological Bulletin, 127, 87–127. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.127.1.87.
Connor-Smith, J. K., Compas, B. E., Wadsworth, M. E., Thomsen, A. H., & Saltzman, H. (2000). Responses to stress in adolescence: Measurement of coping and involuntary stress responses. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 68, 976–992. doi:10.1080/10615800410001709412.
Darling, N., & Steinberg, L. (1993). Parenting style as context: An integrative model. Psychological Bulletin, 113, 487–496. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.113.3.487.
Dawson, J. F. (2014). Moderation in management research: What, why, when and how. Journal of Business Psychology, 29, 1–19. doi:10.1007/s10869-013-9308-7.
Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1985). Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior. New York, NY: Plenum.
Finkel, E. J., & Campbell, W. K. (2001). Self-control and accommodation in close relationships: An interdependence analysis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 81, 263–277. doi:10.1037/0022-35126.96.36.1993.
Finnegan, R. A., Hodges, E. V. E., & Perry, D. G. (1998). Victimization by peers: Associations with children’s reports of mother–child interaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 1076–1086.
Galambos, N. L., Barker, E. T., & Almeida, D. M. (2003). Parents do matter: Trajectories of change in externalizing and internalizing problems in early adolescence. Child Development, 74, 578–594.
Garnefski, N., & Kraaij, V. (2006). The cognitive emotion regulation questionnaire: Development of a short 18-item version (CERQ-short). Personality and Individual Differences, 41, 1045–1053.
Grolnick, W. S. (2003). The psychology of parental control: How well-meant parenting backfires. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Grolnick, W. S., Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1997). Internalization within the family: The self-determination theory perspective. In J. E. Grusec, & L. Kuczynski (Eds.), Parenting and children's internalization of values: A handbook of contemporary theory (pp. 135–161). New York, NY: Wiley.
Grolnick, W. S., Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (1991). Inner resources for school achievement: Motivational mediators of children's perceptions of their parents. Journal of Educational Psychology, 83, 508–517.
Gurland, S. T., Grolnick, W. S., & Friendly, R. W. (2012). The role of expectations in children’s experience of novel events. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 113, 305–321. doi:10.1037/e699552007-001.
Heckhausen, J. (1997). Developmental regulation across adulthood: Primary and secondary control of age-related challenges. Developmental Psychology, 33, 176–187.
Kakihara, F., & Tilton-Weaver, L. (2009). Adolescents' interpretations of parental control: Differentiated by domain and types of control. Child Development, 80, 1722–1738.
Kass, R. E., & Raftery, A. E. (1995). Bayes factors. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 90, 773–795.
Kliewer, W., Sandler, I., & Wolchik, S. (1994). Family socialization of threat appraisal and coping: Coaching, modeling, and family context. In K. Hurrelman, & F. Nestmann (Eds.), Social networks and social support in childhood and adolescence (pp. 271–291). New York, NY: de Gruyter.
Kochanska, G., Aksan, N., & Koenig, A. L. (1995). A longitudinal study of the roots of preschoolers’ conscience: Committed compliance and emerging internalization. Child Development, 66, 1752–1769. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.1995.tb00963.x.
Kuczynski, L. (2003). Beyond bidirectionality: Bilateral conceptual frameworks for understanding dynamics in parent–child relations (pp. 1–24). In L. Kuczynski (Ed.), Handbook of dynamics in parent–child relations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Legault, L., Ray, K., Hudgins, A., Pelosi, M., & Shannon, W. (2017). Assisted versus asserted autonomy satisfaction: Their unique associations with wellbeing, integration of experience, and conflict negotiation. Motivation & Emotion, 41, 1–21. doi:10.1007/s11031-016-9593-3.
Little, R. (1988). A test of missing completely at random for multivariate data with missing values. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 83, 1198–1202. doi:10.1080/01621459.1988.10478722.
Maccoby, E. E. (2007). Historical overview of socialization research and theory. In J. E. Grusec, & P. D. Hastings (Eds.), Handbook of socialization: Theory and research (pp. 13–41). New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Mead, G. H. (1934). Mind, self and society from the point of view of a social behaviorist. Chicago, IL: University Press of Chicago.
Miklikowska, M., Duriez, B., & Soenens, B. (2011). Family roots of empathy-related characteristics: The role of perceived maternal and paternal need support in adolescence. Developmental Psychology, 47, 1342–1352.
Moller, A. C., Deci, E. L., & Elliot, A. J. (2010). Person-level relatedness and the incremental value of relating. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 36, 754–767.
Morling, B., & Evered, S. (2006). Secondary control reviewed and defined. Psychological Bulletin, 132, 269–296.
Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (2012). Mplus user's guide (7th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén.
Nagin, D. S. (2005). Group-based modeling of development. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Nolen-Hoeksma, S. (1998). Ruminative coping with depression. In J. Heckhausen, G. S. Dweck (Eds.). Motivation and self-regulation across the life span (pp. 237–256). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Nucci, L. (1996). Morality and personal freedom. In E. S. Reed, E. Turiel, & T. Brown (Eds.), Knowledge and values (pp. 41–60). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Nylund, K. L., Asparoutiov, T., & Muthen, B. O. (2007). Deciding on the number of classes in latent class analysis and growth mixture modeling: A Monte Carlo study. Structural Equation Modeling, 14, 535–569.
Ojanen, T., & Perry, D. G. (2007). Relational schemas and the developing self: Perceptions of mother and of self as joint predictors of early adolescents’ self-esteem. Developmental Psychology, 43, 1474–1483.
Oliver, R. L. (1993). Cognitive, affective, and attribute bases of the satisfaction response. Journal of Consumer Research, 20, 418–430. doi:10.1086/209358.
Parkin, C. M., & Kuczynski, L. (2012). Adolescent perspectives on rules and resistance within the parent-child relationship. Journal of Adolescent Research, 27, 632–658. doi:10.1177/0743558411435852.
Pomerantz, E. M., & Eaton, M. M. (2000). Developmental differences in children’s conceptions of parental control: “They love me, but they make me feel incompetent”. Merill-Palmer Quarterly, 46, 140–167. doi:10.1111/j.2040-0209.2010.00352_2.x.
Pomerantz, E. M., Moorman, E. A., & Litwack, S. D. (2007). The how, whom, and why of parents’ involvement in children’s academic lives: More is not always better. Review of Education Research, 77, 373–410. doi:10.3102/003465430305567.
Power, T. G. (2004). Stress and coping in childhood: The parents’ role. Parenting: Science and Practice, 4, 271–317. doi:10.1207/s15327922par0404_1.
Radel, R., Pelletier, L. G., Sarrazin, P., & Milyavskaya, M. (2011). Restoration process of the need for autonomy: The early alarm stage. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 101, 919–934. doi:10.1037/a0025196.
Reeve, J., & Jang, H. (2006). What teachers say and do to support students’ autonomy during a learning activity. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98, 209–218. doi:10.1037/0022-06188.8.131.52.
Reinecke, J. (2006). Lonitudinal analysis of adolescent’s deviant and delinquent behavior. Methodology, 2, 100–112. doi:10.1027/1614-2241.2.3.100.
Rowe, S., Zimmer-Gembeck, M. J., Rudolph, J., Nesdale, D., & Gowney, G. A. (2015). A longitudinal study of rejecting and autonomy-restrictive parenting, rejection sensitivity, and socioemotional symptoms in early adolescents. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 43, 1107–1118. doi:10.1007/s10802-014-9966-6.
Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being. American Psychologist, 55, 68–78. doi:10.1037/0003-066x.55.1.68.
Seiffge-Krenke, I., & Pakalniskiene, V. (2011). Who shapes whom in the family: Reciprocal links between autonomy support in the family and parents’ and adolescents’ coping behaviors. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 40, 983–995. doi:10.1007/s10964-010-9603-9.
Sheldon, K. M. (2011). Integrating behavioral-motive and experiential-requirement perspectives on psychological needs: A two process model. Psychological Review, 118, 552–569. doi:10.1037/a0024758.
Sheldon, K. M., & Gunz, A. (2009). Psychological needs as basic motives, not just experiential requirements. Journal of Personality, 77, 1467–1492. doi:10.1111/j.1467-6494.2009.00589.x.
Skinner, E. A., & Edge, K. (2002). Self-determination, coping and development. In E. L. Deci, & R. M. Ryan (Eds.), Self-determination theory: Extensions and applications (pp. 297–337). Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press.
Skinner, E. A., Edge, K., Altman, J., & Sherwood, H. (2003). Searching for the structure of coping: A review and critique of category systems for classifying ways of coping. Psychological Bulletin, 129, 216–269. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.129.2.216.
Skinner, E. A., & Wellborn, J. G. (1994). Coping during childhood and adolescence: A motivational perspective. In R. Lerner, D. Featherman, & M. Perlmutter (Eds.), Lifespan development and behavior (pp. 91–133). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Skinner, E. A., & Zimmer-Gembeck, M. J. (2007). The development of coping. Annual Review of Psychology, 58, 119–144. doi:10.1146/annurev.psych.58.110405.085705.
Smetana, J. G. (1988). Adolescents’ and parents’ conceptions of parental authority. Child Development, 39, 321–335. doi:10.2307/1130313.
Smetana, J. G. (2006). Social-cognitive domain theory: Consistencies and variations in children’s moral and social judgments. In M. Killen, & J. G. Smetana (Eds.), Handbook of moral development (pp. 119–153). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Soenens, B., & Vansteenkiste, M. (2010). A theoretical upgrade of the concept of parental psychological control: Proposing new insights on the basis of self-determination theory. Developmental Review, 30, 74–99. doi:10.1016/j.dr.2009.11.001.
Soenens, B., Vansteenkiste, M., Lens, W., Luyckx, K., Goossens, L., Beyers, W., & Ryan, R. M. (2007). Conceptualizing parental autonomy support: Adolescent perceptions of promotion of independence versus promotion of volitional functioning. Developmental Psychology, 43, 633–646. doi:10.1037/0012-16184.108.40.2063.
Soenens, B., Vansteenkiste, M., & Sierens, E. (2009). How are psychological control and autonomy support related? A cluster-analytic approach. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 71, 187–202. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2008.00589.x.
Soenens, B., Vansteenkiste, M., & Van Petegem, S. (2015). Let us not throw out the baby with the bathwater: Applying the principle of ‘universalism without uniformity’ to autonomy-supportive and controlling parenting. Child Development Perspectives, 9, 44–49. doi:10.1111/cdep.12103.
Torres, S. (2009). Vignette methodology and culture-relevance: Lessons learned through a project on successful aging with Iranian immigrants to Sweden. Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 24, 93–114. doi:10.1007/s10823-009-9095-9.
Van Petegem, S., Soenens, B., Vansteenkiste, M., & Beyers, W. (2015). Rebels with a cause: Adolescent defiance from the perspective of reactance theory and self-determination theory. Child Development, 86, 903–918. doi:10.1111/cdev.12355.
Van Petegem, S., Vansteenkiste, M., Soenens, B., Zimmermann, G., Antonietti, J.-P., Baudat, S., & Audenaert, E. (2017). When do adolescents accept or defy to maternal prohibitions? The role of social domain and communication style. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 46, 1022–1037. doi:10.1007/s10964-016-0562-7.
van Prooijen, J. W. (2009). Procedural justice as autonomy regulation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96, 1166–1180. doi:10.1037/a0014153.
Vanhalst, J., Soenens, B., Luyckx, K., Van Petegem, S., Weeks, M. S., & Ascher, S. R. (2015). Why do the lonely stay lonely? Chronically lonely adolescents’ attributions and emotions in situations of social inclusion and exclusion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 109, 932–948. doi:10.1037/pspp0000051.
Vansteenkiste, M., & Ryan, R. M. (2013). On psychological growth and vulnerability: Basic psychological need satisfaction and need frustration as a unifying principle. Journal of Psychotherapy Integration, 23, 263–280. doi:10.1037/a0032359.
Vansteenkiste, M., Simons, J., Lens, W., Sheldon, K., & Deci, E. L. (2004). Motivation learning, performance, and persistence: The synergistic effects of intrinsic goal contents and autonomy-supportive contexts. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 87, 246–260. doi:10.1037/0022-35220.127.116.11.
Vansteenkiste, M., Simons, J., Lens, W., Soenens, B., & Matos, L. (2005). Examining the motivational impact of intrinsic versus extrinsic goal framing and autonomy-supportive versus internally controlling communication style on early adolescents’ academic achievement. Child Development, 76, 483–501. doi:10.1111/j.1467-8624.2005.00858.x.
Vansteenkiste, M., Soenens, B., Van Petegem, S., & Duriez, B. (2014). Longitudinal associations between adolescent perceived style of parental prohibition and oppositional defiance and internalization. Developmental Psychology, 50, 229–236. doi:10.1037/a0032972.
Weinstein, N., & Ryan, R. M. (2011). A self-determination theory approach to understanding stress incursion and responses. Stress & Health, 27, 4–17. doi:10.1002/smi.1368.
Zimmer-Gembeck, M. J., Ducat, W., & Collins, W. A. (2011). Autonomy development during adolescence. In B. B. Brown, & M. Prinstein (Eds.), Encyclopedia of adolescence (pp. 66–76). New York: Academic.
Zimmer-Gembeck, M. J., & Locke, E. M. (2007). The socialization of adolescent coping behaviors: Relationships with families and teachers. Journal of Adolescence, 30, 1–16. doi:10.1016/j.adolescence.2005.03.001.
Zimmer-Gembeck, M. J., & Skinner, E. A. (2011). The development of coping across childhood and adolescence: An integrative review and critique of research. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 35, 1–17. doi:10.1177/0165025410384923.
Zimmer-Gembeck, M. J., & Skinner, E. A. (2016). The development of coping and regulation: Implications for psychopathology and resilience. In D. Cicchetti (Ed.), Developmental psychopathology (3rd ed., Vol. 4, pp. 485–544). New York, NY: Wiley.
S.V.P. coordinated the project, conceived of the study, analyzed and interpreted the data, and wrote the manuscript. M.Z.G., B.S. and M.V. helped in the conception of the study, interpretation of the data, and writing the manuscript. K.B. helped in the data collection and in writing the manuscript. E.M. helped in writing the manuscript. J.V. helped in the analysis and interpretation of the data, and writing the manuscript. G.Z. helped in the interpretation of the data and in writing the manuscript.
Conflicts of Interest
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
All procedures performed involving human participants in this study were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Ghent University Institutional Review Board and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consents were obtained from all participants included in the study.
About this article
Cite this article
Van Petegem, S., Zimmer-Gembeck, M.J., Soenens, B. et al. Does General Parenting Context Modify Adolescents' Appraisals and Coping with a Situation of Parental Regulation? The Case of Autonomy-Supportive Parenting. J Child Fam Stud 26, 2623–2639 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-017-0758-9