Prior studies have found that parents' perceptions of control over their lives and their social support may both be important for parenting behaviors. Yet, few studies have examined their unique and interacting influence on parenting behaviors during early adolescence. This longitudinal study of rural parents in two-parent families (N = 636) investigated (a) whether perceived control and social support when their youth were in sixth grade were independently or interactively associated with changes in parenting behaviors (discipline, standard setting) and parent-child warmth and hostility 6 months later and (b) if these linkages differed by parent gender. We also investigated the interactive links between perceived control, social support, and parenting. Specifically, we tested if parents' perceived control moderated the linkages between social support and parenting and if these linkages differed by parent gender. Greater perceived control predicted more increases in parents' consistent discipline and standard setting, whereas greater social support predicted increases in parent-child warmth and decreases in parent-child hostility. Parental perceived control moderated the effect of social support on parental warmth: For mothers only, social support was significantly linked to parent-child warmth only when mothers had low (but not high) perceived self-control. The discussion focuses on reasons why perceived control and social support may have associations with different aspects of parenting and why these might differ for mothers and fathers.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Clinical Psychology
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)