Perceived Threat, Controlling Parenting, and Children's Achievement Orientations

Abstract

Maternal perceptions of threat in the environment were examined as concomitants of controlling (vs. autonomy supportive) parenting. Forty mothers and their third-grade children were videotaped while completing homework-like tasks together. Maternal controlling (vs. autonomy supportive) behavior was measured both attitudinally by questionnaire, and behaviorally by coding of the videotapes. Mothers reported on their perceptions of environmental threat (worry, instability, scarcity). Results indicated that perceptions of threat were positively associated with controlling behaviors exhibited during the tasks, and negatively associated with children's motivation. Further, the relation between perceived instability and children's motivation was mediated by controlling parenting. Controlling parenting is associated with parental perceptions of threat and is one pathway through which threat may be associated with children's achievement goals.

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Correspondence to Wendy S. Grolnick.

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Gurland, S.T., Grolnick, W.S. Perceived Threat, Controlling Parenting, and Children's Achievement Orientations. Motiv Emot 29, 103–121 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11031-005-7956-2

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Key Words

  • perceived threat
  • controlling parenting
  • achievement goals