First Advisor

Ellen A. Skinner

Term of Graduation

Fall 2021

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology






Parenting, Adjustment (Psychology), School children, Academic achievement



Physical Description

1 online resource (xii, 253 pages)


Using a motivational framework based in self-determination theory, the present study investigated the dynamic system between parenting and children's coping, defined as the ways they handle the everyday difficulties they encounter in school, using a sample of 1,020 students in grades three through six drawn from a larger cohort-sequential study. Three overarching research questions were examined using multiple regression that concerned 1) feedforward effects from parents' initial provision of motivational support (i.e., involvement, structure, and autonomy support) to changes in children's academic coping across the school year, 2) feedback effects from children's initial coping to changes in the same parenting dimensions across the same timeframe, and 3) children's self-system processes of relatedness, competence, and autonomy, and corresponding catastrophizing appraisals as possible mediators of the connection between parenting and changes in coping.

Results examining feedforward effects from parenting dimensions to changes in children's coping partially supported study hypotheses, with involvement, structure, and autonomy support uniquely predicting changes in multiple individual ways of coping, but not changes in coping profiles. Theorized feedback effects were more fully supported with both adaptive and maladaptive profiles predicting increases in all three parental dimensions, and multiple individual adaptive and maladaptive ways predicting changes in structure and autonomy support, while changes in involvement were uniquely predicted only by projection. For mediational analyses, parental dimensions and individual ways of coping were only retained for further analyses if they had significant findings for feedforward effects. Of these, results indicated that most self-system processes and catastrophizing appraisals partially mediated the connection between parenting and changes in children's coping across the school year. Exceptions were seen for autonomy and catastrophizing of competence and autonomy, which did not mediate involvement and confusion, respectively, but were instead independent contributors to changes in these ways of coping. Altogether, study findings highlight the important role parents play in fostering constructive coping and buffering against maladaptive coping, and explicate mechanisms underlying these feedforward effects. But even further, they provide preliminary evidence for a conceptualization of the connection between parenting and children's academic coping as a dynamic system with two active social partners that mutually influence each other. Strengths and limitations, as well as implications for future study and practice are discussed.


© 2021 Kristen Raine

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