First Advisor

Ellen Skinner

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Systems Science: Psychology


Systems Science: Psychology




Teenagers and adults, Problem youth -- Behavior modification, Youth in development, Motivation (Psychology) in adolescence



Physical Description

1 online resource (viii, 247 pages)


This study explores the relationship between parenting and adolescent outcomes within the context of healthy adolescent development. A motivational model of development provides a framework for understanding adolescent and parent behaviors.

Participants in the study were 4,090 students in grade 8-12. Students' self-reported behaviors and perceptions of their parents' behaviors were collected as part of a statewide school survey.

The study contributes to the understanding of parenting dimensions that underlie parenting styles through the identification of six parenting dimensions (warmth, structure, autonomy support, rejection, chaos, and coercion) that correspond to the motivational model. In addition, monitoring is identified as a seventh dimension of parenting and found to have an important influence on adolescent behaviors and outcomes. Further, it is demonstrated that parenting dimensions combine to form a set of seven parent types that are deferentially associated with adolescent outcomes and problem behaviors. Means on positive adolescent outcomes (academic competence, commitment to school, social competence, self-worth, and mastery), substance use, and problem behaviors suggested an ordering of parent types. Adolescents with authoritative parents experienced the best outcomes followed by warm authoritarian, permissive, authoritarian, mediocre, rejecting, and indifferent parents.

This study also sought to understand the effects of alcohol and marijuana use on adolescent competence. Consistent with other studies that have noted detrimental effects of early alcohol and marijuana use, this study indicated that for 8th graders, any trial of alcohol or marijuana was associated with significantly (p< .01) lower levels of overall competence. For grades 9-10, triers of alcohol were not significantly less competent than nonusers. For grades 11-12, triers of alcohol and triers of marijuana were not significantly less competent than nonusers. These findings partially support Baumrind’s (1991) findings. A search for differences in parenting that might distinguish between triers and more frequent users of alcohol and marijuana indicated that parental monitoring of adolescents was higher among triers than among more frequent users.

A third aim of this study was to better understand the mechanisms through which protective factors influence problem behaviors. Findings indicated that parental warmth moderates the relationship between risk factors and problem behaviors.


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