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Observing Parental Need Supporting Behaviors Toward Adolescents: Comparing Four Coding Strategies

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Abstract

Self-determination theory identifies three parenting dimensions that contribute to adolescents’ optimal development by supporting their psychological needs. This observational study examined parental need supporting (autonomy support, involvement, structure) and thwarting (control) behaviors toward their adolescent child during two tasks, namely a discussion task and a problem-solving task. Because of the variety of coding strategies available for evaluating these parental behaviors, our goal was to determine the extent to which four behavior codifications conveyed similar information about parental behaviors. These codifications were end-of-task, checklist, 5-minute intervals, and 30-second intervals. Parent-adolescent dyads (N = 42) participated in discussion and problem-solving tasks, each lasting 20 minutes. These parent-adolescent interactions were then rated by observers to evaluate the level of convergence between the four coding strategies for each of the four parenting behaviors (separately for each type of task). Except for structure, results suggest that most coding strategies substantially overlapped for most parental behaviors. Recommendations are made for researchers seeking to code these observed parental behaviors in a cost-efficient manner, without compromising the quality of their measures.

Highlights

  • We examined parental need supporting (autonomy support, involvement, structure) and thwarting (control) behaviors.

  • We used an observational study design to assess parent-adolescent interactions during discussion and problem-solving tasks.

  • We compared four coding strategies: end-of-task, checklist, 5-minute intervals, and 30-second intervals.

  • There is substantial overlap among codifications was found for most parental behaviors except structure.

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Acknowledgements

We also acknowledge the support of the Canada Research Chair Program to the first author. Study material and data are available upon request at catherine.ratelle@fse.ulaval.ca. We want to thank Wendy Grolnick and Eva Pomerantz for their valuable feedback during the different phases of the project.

Funding

This research was funded by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) to Catherine Ratelle (435-2013-0467).

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Ratelle, C.F., Châteauvert, G.B., Bourret, M. et al. Observing Parental Need Supporting Behaviors Toward Adolescents: Comparing Four Coding Strategies. J Child Fam Stud (2023). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-023-02726-6

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