The Emotional Costs of Parents' Conditional Regard: A Self-Determination Theory Analysis

Avi Assor, Guy Roth, Edward L. Deci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

315 Scopus citations

Abstract

Parents' use of conditional regard as a socializing practice was hypothesized to predict their children's introjected internalization (indexed by a sense of internal compulsion), resentment toward parents, and ill-being. In Study 1, involving three generations, mothers' reports of their parents' having used conditional regard to promote academic achievement predicted (a) the mothers' poor well-being and controlling parenting attitudes, and (b) their collge-aged daughters' viewing them as having used conditional regard, thus showing both negative affective consequences from and intergenerational transmission of conditional regard. Study 2 expanded on the first by using four domains, including both genders, and examining mediating processes. College students' perceptions of their mothers' and fathers' having used conditional regard in four domains (emotion control, prosocial, academic, sport) were found to relate to introjected internalization, behavioral enactment, fluctuations in self-esteem, perceived parental disapproval, and resentment of parents. Introjection mediated the link from conditional regard to behavioral enactment. The results suggest that use of conditional regard as a socializing practice can promote enactment of the desired behaviors but does so with significant affective costs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-88
Number of pages42
JournalJournal of Personality
Volume72
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2004

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