Using Maternal Conditional Positive Regard to Promote Anxiety Suppression in Adolescents: A Benign Strategy?

Maya Israeli-Halevi, Avi Assor, Guy Roth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

SYNOPSIS: Objective. The focus of the current article was on the parenting strategy of using maternal conditional positive regard to promote adolescents’ suppression of anxiety to assess whether this strategy is benign or maladaptive. Method. Two studies (N = 230) examined mothers’ and adolescents’ reports of maternal conditional regard, adolescents’ motivation, and mothers’ contingent self-esteem, general warmth, and neuroticism. Results. Study 1 showed that mothers’ self-reported maternal conditional positive regard predicted adolescents’ perceptions of mothers’ use of maternal conditional positive regard, which then predicted adolescents’ introjected (stressful and internally controlling) motivation to suppress anxiety. These effects obtained when controlling for Maternal Conditional Negative Regard. Study 2 showed that mothers’ contingent self-esteem predicted mother-reported maternal conditional positive regard and maternal conditional negative regard which, respectively, predicted adolescents’ experience of mothers’ using maternal conditional positive regard and maternal conditional negative regard. These effects were obtained when controlling for mothers’ general warmth and neuroticism. Conclusions. The association of maternal conditional positive regard with mothers’ contingent self-esteem and adolescents’ introjected motivation suggests that this seemingly benign practice might be a product and a cause of psychological difficulties, and therefore, should be minimized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-206
Number of pages20
JournalParenting
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 3 Jul 2015

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