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Predictors of Psychological Control: Marital Conflict and Intergenerational Continuity of Parenting

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Abstract

This study aimed to investigate the intergenerational continuity of parental psychological control and the role of marital conflict by measuring past experience of psychological control and current level of interparental conflict in predicting present use of psychological control. 107 respondents (52 males and 55 females) and both their biological parents rated the psychological control experienced during their young adulthood. Results showed only cross-gender continuity in transmission of psychological control. Marital conflict was also a significant predictor of parental use of psychological control but past experience of psychological control with opposite sex parent was a stronger predictor. The importance of curbing the negative effects of psychological control is emphasized.

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... Only two studies were identified from Asian culture examining the intergenerational transmission pattern of psychological control. Ong (2010) found the intergenerational continuity of PPC amongst 107 college students in Malaysia. The transmission had cross-sex continuity that male's perceived PPC was only predicted significantly by his mother's perceived PPC, but not his father's, and vice versa. ...
... Another study, Yu (2019), aimed to identify intergenerational patterns of the PPC in the validation of a questionnaire of parental psychological control in mainland China and found maternal, rather than paternal, psychological control experience in mothers can predict children's perceived PPC. With this scarcity of studies in this field, more studies are needed to consolidate a more reliable pattern of this transmission; therefore, further action can be taken to block this transmission to avoid potential negative consequences (Ong, 2010). ...
... It can be explained by different samples included. The majority of the participants in Ong (2010) were raised in a blended culture background in Malaysia despite their Chinese ethnic background. Besides, the PPC was measured in children's generation when they already become parents. ...
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Parental psychological control (PPC) is a parenting style more frequently observed in Asian countries that can be passed from generation to generation. It can exert negative consequences on children; therefore, it becomes essential to investigate its manifestation and associated factors. Intergeneration dynamics can provide valuable information on how psychological control transmits through parent-child interaction and identify potential target to intervene. The current study aimed to examine whether PPC of parents associated with that of their child through the endorsement of Chinese parenting beliefs of control by the child. Parents-child dyads including 632 two-parent families with children (293 females, 333 males, and six without report) from Henan and Sichuan Province of China participated in the current study. Apart from demographic information, both parents filled in the Chinese Parental Psychological Control Scale (CPPC). Children filled in the CPPC and Chinese parenting Beliefs Scale (TPBS). Results showed that the grandparents’ PPC significantly associated with the parents’ PPC. This transmission followed through a gender-specific path, i.e., grandmothers’ PPC only associated with mother’s PPC; grandfathers’ PPC only associated with father’s PPC. Chinese parenting beliefs mediated the transmission process, except that the mediation of transmission of paternal PPC was not found in the families with boys. The current study provided support of intergenerational transmission of PPC in the Chinese family. It also indicated different strategies Chinese fathers used to raise up daughter and son. It could inform the future practice to alter the parenting beliefs as a potential target to diminish the impact of PPC in China.
... Several theoretical models have been proposed to illuminate the determinants of parenting. However, extant empirical studies have rarely systematically examined multiple concomitants and predictors of parenting, especially psychological control, in one model (Kuppens, Grietens, Onghena, & Michiels, 2009;Pettit, Laird, Dodge, Bates, & Criss, 2001;Li, Putallaz, & Su, 2011;Ong, 2010;Shuster, Li, & Shi, 2012). Belsky's (1984) parenting process model suggests that child characteristics, psychological resources of parents, and contextual sources of stress and support are the three important domains of factors that determine parenting. ...
... Specifically, marital satisfaction is positively associated with more sensitive and supportive parenting (Simons, Lorenz, Wu, & Conger, 1993). Alternatively, marital conflict and ineffective spousal communication is linked to harsher parenting for Chinese parents (Chang et al., 2004) and to greater use of psychological control for Chinese Malaysian parents (Ong, 2010). Higher marital quality is also correlated with less controlling behaviors in Korean mothers (Park, 1992). ...
Article
We examined: (1) the mediating role of parenting daily hassles in the associations between three predictors (child temperament, maternal psychological well-being, and marital quality) and psychologically controlling practices in two Asian immigrant samples. We also explored the moderating role of maternal acculturation in the path from parenting daily hassles to psychological control. Participants were 152 Chinese and 165 Korean immigrant mothers with preschool children in the U.S. Multi-group path analysis revealed that easier child temperament, higher psychological well-being, and better marital quality were each associated with fewer parenting daily hassles, which in turn were associated with less psychological control. These general mediating effects held for both groups. However, the indirect effects of child temperament, maternal psychological well-being, and marital quality through parenting daily hassles were further moderated by acculturation for Chinese immigrant mothers, but not Korean immigrant mothers. The culturally similar and different findings across the two groups were discussed
... Notably, the growing mass of work has validated the construct in an array of national, ethnic, and cultural groups across the globe (e.g., Barber et al., 2005;Hasebe, Nucci, & Nucci, 2004;Ong, 2010;Soenens, Park, Vansteenkiste, & Mouratidis, 2012;Wang, Pomerantz, & Chen, 2007). In addition to this cross-cultural validation, the literature has also extended the scope of study of the construct. ...
... In addition to this cross-cultural validation, the literature has also extended the scope of study of the construct. For example, it has expanded to include study of the determinants of psychological control (e.g., Ong, 2010;Pettit & Laird, 2002;Pettit, Laird, Dodge, Bates, & Criss, 2001;Schluterman, 2007;Smetana & Daddis, 2002;Soenens, Vansteenkiste, Duriez, & Goossens, 2006) as well as more differentiated measures of the construct (Soenens et al., 2012;Soenens, Vansteenkiste, & Luyten, 2010). ...
Article
This study investigated parental psychological control of adolescents when construed as disrespect of individuality. First, 120 adolescents from 5 cultures were interviewed and asked to identify specific parental behaviors that communicated to them that they were disrespected as individuals. The interview data were coded and 8 new survey items were constructed to reflect key content. These items were then administered to 2100 adolescents in the same cultures along with a traditional measure of psychological control (PCS). Confirmatory factor analyses indicated that model fit was better when the two scales were kept separate, across culture and sex of parent. In structural equation models, the new scale - labeled Psychological Control - Disrespect - accounted for all and more of the variance in youth depression and antisocial behavior than the PCS did. The discussion centers on the validation the study makes of the construct and offers several suggestions for future research.
... As expected, the results showed that mothers who felt that they were raised in a more psychologically controlling parenting context reported more resentment after reading the vignettes, were less likely to accept and were more likely to defy the adolescent's request. In line with theory (Belsky et al., 2009;Neppl et al., 2009;Van Ijzendoorn, 1992;Whitbeck et al., 1992) and previous research (Assor et al., 2004;Ong, 2010;Otterpohl et al., 2020), these findings are indicative of a process of intergenerational continuity. Possibly, parents are most likely to copy their own parents' attitudes and behaviors when confronted with resistance and potential conflict. ...
... Specifically, Assor et al. (2004) found that mothers' reports of their parents' conditional regard (a key facet of psychological control) predicted mothers' own use of conditional regard as reported by their college-aged daughters. Ong (2010) found a significant association between child and parent reports of psychological control experienced during young adulthood. Further, in a study with mothers of 2-5 year old toddlers, mothers' self-reported psychological control as experienced during their own youth related positively to their current use of punitive discipline towards their young children (Seay et al. 2016). ...
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Objectives: This study investigated whether mothers' own perceived parenting history (in their own family of origin) relates to mothers' self-reported use of psychological control during the toddler period and whether mothers' emotion regulation capacities play an important underlying role in this regard. Methods: A community sample of 150 primiparous mothers participated in a longitudinal study, including both a prenatal and postnatal assessment (two years after birth). Results: Results of structural equation modelling indicated that mothers' own retrospectively perceived history of psychologically controlling parenting prior to childbirth related to their psychologically controlling parenting behaviour vis-à-vis their toddlers. Mothers' maladaptive emotional regulation, and dysregulation in particular, was found to play a mediating role in this association. Conclusions: The results highlight that mothers' perceived parenting history is an important prenatal predictor of mothers' own (self-reported) use of psychological control in the first years after childbirth, with maternal emotion regulation helping to account for this association.
... One exception is a study that provided preliminary evidence for the intergenerational continuity of grandparental and parental psychological control in college students (Ong, 2010). Similarly, another study showed a significant association between mothers' perception of grandmothers' conditional regard and daughters' perception of mothers' conditional regard (Assor et al., 2004). ...
Article
Although research has documented the adverse consequences of parental academic conditional regard in different developmental periods, few studies have examined antecedents and, in particular, the possibility of intergenerational continuity of this parenting dimension. The current study aimed to identify patterns of intergenerational similarity in two types of conditional regard (i.e., positive and negative). Additionally, it examined mothers' and adolescents' contingent self‐esteem (CSE) and depressive symptoms as outcomes of this process. In total, 211 mothers and their 10–16 year‐old adolescents filled out questionnaires assessing perceived conditional regard in the relationship with their own mother (i.e., grandmothers', and mothers' conditional positive (PACPR) and negative regard (PACNR)), contingent self‐esteem (i.e., maternal child‐invested CSE and adolescents' academic CSE), and maternal and adolescents' depressive symptoms. Results revealed direct intergenerational similarity for PACPR, but not for PACNR. Within generations, PACPR was related positively to CSE, which, in turn, was related positively to depressive symptoms. Moreover, PACNR was related positively to depressive symptoms. Our findings provide preliminary evidence for the intergenerational continuity of conditional regard, which has important consequences because of its relation to CSE and subsequent depressive symptoms within both generations. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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