Apples and Oranges: Divergent Meanings of Parents’ and Adolescents’ Perceptions of Parental Influence

Citation:

McElhaney, K. B., Porter, M. R., Thompson, W. L., & Allen, J. P. (2008). Apples and Oranges: Divergent Meanings of Parents’ and Adolescents’ Perceptions of Parental Influence. Journal of Early Adolescence , 28 (2), 206-229.

Abstract:

This study examines the hypothesis that effective parental influence stems from the qualities of the parent-adolescent relationship rather than from explicit efforts to alter adolescents’ behaviors. Adolescents’ versus parents’ perceptions of parental influence as predictors of parent-adolescent relationship quality and of adolescents’ social functioning are examined using observational and multireporter data obtained from a sample of 167 adolescents (90 female, 77 male; age M = 13.34 years, SD = 0.65), their parents, and their same-sex peers. Analyses revealed that adolescents’ and parents’ perceptions of parental influence were uncorrelated with one another and were differentially related to qualities of adolescents’ relationships with parents and friends. Adolescents’ perceptions of high parental influence were linked to observations and self-reports of warm, supportive relationships with parents (particularly mothers). In contrast, parents’ reports of high influence were linked to lower levels of adolescent autonomy with parents and friends and less relatedness with mothers and friends.

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