Parenting styles and adolescent self-determination in academic, religious, and TV-related activities

Fernando Alberto Zabala, Marquette University


For the past three decades, research has shown the negative effects that power-assertive (Hoffman 1967, 1970, 1975), authoritarian (Baumrind, 1971, 1973), and controlling parents (Grolnick & Ryan, 1989) have on children. A common trend in these findings is the fact that children from parents who use controlling child rearing practices tend to lack an internal locus of causality, or self-determination, with respect to their behavior (Deci & Ryan, 1985), in contrast to children from homes where information is shared in parent-child interactions. This study purposed to examine the effects of controlling (versus autonomy-supportive parenting styles) on adolescents' reasons to engage in academic, religious, and TV viewing activities. To this end, two related frameworks were used: Self-Determination Theory-SDT (Deci & Ryan, 1985, 1987) and Family Communication Patterns-FCP (McLeod & Chaffee, 1972, 1973). The type of research design used in this study was correlational, with measures taken at one time (cross-sectional) by means of self-administered questionnaires. It looked at how variations in parenting styles relate to variations in adolescents' levels of self-determination in academic, religious, and TV-related activities. Through multiple regression analyses, it examined the proportion of variance in self-determination scores (criterion variable) accounted for by variations in parenting styles (predictor variable). Parenting styles were measured by means of two different instruments: one from communication, "The Family Communication Patterns" or FCP, (McLeod & Chaffee, 1972); the other, from motivational psychology, is part of "The Rochester Assessment Package for Schools" (Grolnick & Wellborn, 1988). Adolescent self-determination was measured through the Self-Regulation Questionnaire (Ryan & Connell, 1989). To test the hypotheses, a sample of 535 Venezuelan adolescents (and 242 of their parents) from Seventh-Day Adventist schools were surveyed through self-administered questionnaires. The data were analyzed by means of multiple regression, analysis of variance, and path analysis. Overall, results supported the general prediction of the study in that a controlling parenting style was in most cases associated with adolescents' external or intrinsic self-regulation in academic, religious, and TV-related activities. Either by means of the FCP or the RAPS instrument, it was found that the controlling, socio-oriented parenting style was positively and significantly associated with (a) an external orientation in academic activities (beta =.19, p $<$.01) (b) an introjected religious orientation (beta =.17, p $<$.05); and (c) TV viewing for ritualistic or entertainment-related purposes (for the FCP beta =.17, p $<$.05; for the RAPS (beta =.18, p $<$.01). On the other hand, an autonomy-supportive, concept-oriented parenting style was associated with adolescents' likelihood (a) to engage in academic activities for identified (beta =.31, p $<$.001) and intrinsic (beta =.16, p $<$.05) reasons; (b) to perform religious activities out of identified motives (beta =.26, p $<$.001); and (c) to watch TV for instrumental, information-related reasons (for the FCP beta =.15, p $<$.05; for the RAPS beta =.14, p $<$.05).

Recommended Citation

Zabala, Fernando Alberto, "Parenting styles and adolescent self-determination in academic, religious, and TV-related activities" (1994). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI9517939.