Loosening the reins or tightening them?

Complex relationships between parenting, effortful control, and adolescent psychopathology

Jenny Houtepen*, Jelle Sijtsema, Theo Klimstra, R. van der Lem, Stefan Bogaerts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

Background
Adolescents face major developmental tasks such as increasing individuation and establishing autonomy. These developmental tasks increase demands on adolescent self-control, hereby putting youth with poor effortful control at risk for psychopathology. Specific parenting behaviors might be warranted to buffer against this risk.

Objective
This study was designed to examine parenting-related risk and protective factors in the associations between effortful control and adolescent psychopathology. We hypothesized that youth with poor effortful control require more parental involvement (i.e., lower autonomy granting) to help complete these developmental tasks and subsequently avoid psychopathology.

Methods
Via adolescent self-reports (N = 809), associations between effortful control, perceived parenting (i.e., psychological control and autonomy support), and externalizing (i.e., interpersonal aggression and rule-breaking) and internalizing problems (i.e., depressive and anxiety problems) were examined.

Results
Regression analyses supported our hypothesis in boys: higher levels of autonomy support exacerbated the negative association between effortful control and rule-breaking. In contrast, in girls this was the case for lower levels of autonomy support. For both genders, low autonomy support and psychological control exacerbated negative associations between effortful control and internalizing problems. No buffering effects of parenting were found.

Conclusions
Low effortful control is associated with psychopathology in adolescents, but parenting can affect this association in several ways, depending on the type of psychopathology and the adolescent’s gender. Future research should focus on finding ‘optimal’ levels of parental control that can help avoid psychopathological problems in youth with poor effortful control.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-145
JournalChild & Youth Care Forum
Volume48
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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psychopathology
adolescent
autonomy
personality development
self-control
gender
aggression
anxiety

Keywords

  • ADJUSTMENT
  • ANTECEDENTS
  • ANTISOCIAL-BEHAVIOR
  • ANXIETY
  • Adolescent psychopathology
  • Autonomy support
  • EMOTIONAL AUTONOMY
  • EXTERNALIZING PROBLEMS
  • Effortful control
  • Externalizing and internalizing problems
  • MODERATORS
  • PSYCHOLOGICAL CONTROL
  • Parenting
  • Psychological control
  • SUSCEPTIBILITY
  • TEMPERAMENT

Cite this

@article{395dd428c3a74b4aa071f7635ca5b437,
title = "Loosening the reins or tightening them?: Complex relationships between parenting, effortful control, and adolescent psychopathology",
abstract = "BackgroundAdolescents face major developmental tasks such as increasing individuation and establishing autonomy. These developmental tasks increase demands on adolescent self-control, hereby putting youth with poor effortful control at risk for psychopathology. Specific parenting behaviors might be warranted to buffer against this risk.ObjectiveThis study was designed to examine parenting-related risk and protective factors in the associations between effortful control and adolescent psychopathology. We hypothesized that youth with poor effortful control require more parental involvement (i.e., lower autonomy granting) to help complete these developmental tasks and subsequently avoid psychopathology.MethodsVia adolescent self-reports (N = 809), associations between effortful control, perceived parenting (i.e., psychological control and autonomy support), and externalizing (i.e., interpersonal aggression and rule-breaking) and internalizing problems (i.e., depressive and anxiety problems) were examined.ResultsRegression analyses supported our hypothesis in boys: higher levels of autonomy support exacerbated the negative association between effortful control and rule-breaking. In contrast, in girls this was the case for lower levels of autonomy support. For both genders, low autonomy support and psychological control exacerbated negative associations between effortful control and internalizing problems. No buffering effects of parenting were found.ConclusionsLow effortful control is associated with psychopathology in adolescents, but parenting can affect this association in several ways, depending on the type of psychopathology and the adolescent’s gender. Future research should focus on finding ‘optimal’ levels of parental control that can help avoid psychopathological problems in youth with poor effortful control.",
keywords = "ADJUSTMENT, ANTECEDENTS, ANTISOCIAL-BEHAVIOR, ANXIETY, Adolescent psychopathology, Autonomy support, EMOTIONAL AUTONOMY, EXTERNALIZING PROBLEMS, Effortful control, Externalizing and internalizing problems, MODERATORS, PSYCHOLOGICAL CONTROL, Parenting, Psychological control, SUSCEPTIBILITY, TEMPERAMENT",
author = "Jenny Houtepen and Jelle Sijtsema and Theo Klimstra and {van der Lem}, R. and Stefan Bogaerts",
year = "2019",
doi = "10.1007/s10566-018-9477-7",
language = "English",
volume = "48",
pages = "127--145",
journal = "Child & Youth Care Forum",
issn = "1053-1890",
publisher = "Springer New York",
number = "1",

}

Loosening the reins or tightening them? Complex relationships between parenting, effortful control, and adolescent psychopathology. / Houtepen, Jenny; Sijtsema, Jelle; Klimstra, Theo; van der Lem, R.; Bogaerts, Stefan.

In: Child & Youth Care Forum, Vol. 48, No. 1, 2019, p. 127-145.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Loosening the reins or tightening them?

T2 - Complex relationships between parenting, effortful control, and adolescent psychopathology

AU - Houtepen, Jenny

AU - Sijtsema, Jelle

AU - Klimstra, Theo

AU - van der Lem, R.

AU - Bogaerts, Stefan

PY - 2019

Y1 - 2019

N2 - BackgroundAdolescents face major developmental tasks such as increasing individuation and establishing autonomy. These developmental tasks increase demands on adolescent self-control, hereby putting youth with poor effortful control at risk for psychopathology. Specific parenting behaviors might be warranted to buffer against this risk.ObjectiveThis study was designed to examine parenting-related risk and protective factors in the associations between effortful control and adolescent psychopathology. We hypothesized that youth with poor effortful control require more parental involvement (i.e., lower autonomy granting) to help complete these developmental tasks and subsequently avoid psychopathology.MethodsVia adolescent self-reports (N = 809), associations between effortful control, perceived parenting (i.e., psychological control and autonomy support), and externalizing (i.e., interpersonal aggression and rule-breaking) and internalizing problems (i.e., depressive and anxiety problems) were examined.ResultsRegression analyses supported our hypothesis in boys: higher levels of autonomy support exacerbated the negative association between effortful control and rule-breaking. In contrast, in girls this was the case for lower levels of autonomy support. For both genders, low autonomy support and psychological control exacerbated negative associations between effortful control and internalizing problems. No buffering effects of parenting were found.ConclusionsLow effortful control is associated with psychopathology in adolescents, but parenting can affect this association in several ways, depending on the type of psychopathology and the adolescent’s gender. Future research should focus on finding ‘optimal’ levels of parental control that can help avoid psychopathological problems in youth with poor effortful control.

AB - BackgroundAdolescents face major developmental tasks such as increasing individuation and establishing autonomy. These developmental tasks increase demands on adolescent self-control, hereby putting youth with poor effortful control at risk for psychopathology. Specific parenting behaviors might be warranted to buffer against this risk.ObjectiveThis study was designed to examine parenting-related risk and protective factors in the associations between effortful control and adolescent psychopathology. We hypothesized that youth with poor effortful control require more parental involvement (i.e., lower autonomy granting) to help complete these developmental tasks and subsequently avoid psychopathology.MethodsVia adolescent self-reports (N = 809), associations between effortful control, perceived parenting (i.e., psychological control and autonomy support), and externalizing (i.e., interpersonal aggression and rule-breaking) and internalizing problems (i.e., depressive and anxiety problems) were examined.ResultsRegression analyses supported our hypothesis in boys: higher levels of autonomy support exacerbated the negative association between effortful control and rule-breaking. In contrast, in girls this was the case for lower levels of autonomy support. For both genders, low autonomy support and psychological control exacerbated negative associations between effortful control and internalizing problems. No buffering effects of parenting were found.ConclusionsLow effortful control is associated with psychopathology in adolescents, but parenting can affect this association in several ways, depending on the type of psychopathology and the adolescent’s gender. Future research should focus on finding ‘optimal’ levels of parental control that can help avoid psychopathological problems in youth with poor effortful control.

KW - ADJUSTMENT

KW - ANTECEDENTS

KW - ANTISOCIAL-BEHAVIOR

KW - ANXIETY

KW - Adolescent psychopathology

KW - Autonomy support

KW - EMOTIONAL AUTONOMY

KW - EXTERNALIZING PROBLEMS

KW - Effortful control

KW - Externalizing and internalizing problems

KW - MODERATORS

KW - PSYCHOLOGICAL CONTROL

KW - Parenting

KW - Psychological control

KW - SUSCEPTIBILITY

KW - TEMPERAMENT

U2 - 10.1007/s10566-018-9477-7

DO - 10.1007/s10566-018-9477-7

M3 - Article

VL - 48

SP - 127

EP - 145

JO - Child & Youth Care Forum

JF - Child & Youth Care Forum

SN - 1053-1890

IS - 1

ER -