An Examination of the Dynamics Involved in Parental Child-Invested Contingent Self-Esteem

Dorien Wuyts, Maarten Vansteenkiste, Bart Soenens, Avi Assor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


SYNOPSIS: Objective. The present study examined dynamics involved in parents’ tendency to hinge their self-esteem on their children’s achievements (i.e., child-invested contingent self-esteem). In two studies, a model was tested in which perceived social pressure to be an achievement-promoting parent, and parents’ own controlled causality orientation, served as antecedents of parental child-invested contingent self-esteem which, in turn, was related to achievement-oriented psychologically controlling parenting. Design. Study 1 was a cross-sectional study in which 254 mothers, 248 fathers, and their 12-year-old children completed a self-report survey. Study 2 was a short-term longitudinal study of 186 parents of 10-year-old children. Results. Both studies provided support for the hypothesized model. Study 1 showed that the model held even when controlling for parents’ level of self-esteem. Study 2 showed that increases in parental child-invested contingent self-esteem were related to increases in achievement-oriented psychologically controlling parenting even when controlling for child performance. Conclusions. Parents’ tendency to invest their self-worth in their child’s performance is related to a psychologically controlling parenting style and is influenced by parents’ personality as well as their perception of the social environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-74
Number of pages20
Issue number2
StatePublished - 3 Apr 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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