Developmental psychology 1

[5 abstracts]

1. Gender differences and the degree of compatibility within mother's and father's parenting style in adolescents  
Delale E. A.
University of Zagreb, Department of Social Work, Faculty of Law, Zagreb, Croatia

The goal of the study was to explore the degree of compatibility within mother's and father's parenting style in male and female adolescents. The study is a part of a broader study, which examined the relationship between parenting style and self-perceived emotional intelligence in adolescents. Parenting style was studied within the parental acceptance-rejection theory (Rohner, 1984), and discussed within the larger theoretical frame of recent models of family socialization. Measures included self-reported parental acceptance (Rohner, 1984): perceived warmth and affection, hostility and aggression, indifference and neglect, undifferentiated rejection; parental control (Ajduković & Delale, 2001): perceived settings of strict rules, restrictiveness, invasion of privacy and surveillance as well as self-perceived emotional intelligence (Delale, 2001; adapted from Takšić, 1998). Father's parenting style was significantly related to mother's at all assessed measures of parenting styles, both for boys and girls. There were also significant gender differences in the degree of compatibility of mothers' and fathers' parenting style in all measures except warmth and surveillance. Boys perceived parenting style of their parent more compatible than girls (correlations varied from 0.50 to 0.87 for boys and from 0.28 to 0.87 for girls). Since there were significant differences in perception of mothers' and fathers' parenting style, additional scores from mother's and father's parenting style were calculated and girls were more discriminative in observing their parents. Results are discussed according to gender differences in perceived emotional intelligence found in this research and better recognition of their own and other's emotions in girls. Females are socialized more than males in recognition and expression of emotions, they are biologically better equipped and they are spending more time on emotions (Mayer et al., 1999), so they could better differentiate relationships and emotion related content in their parents.

2. Parent-child conflicts and pubertal development in Croatian adolescents  [presentation, ppt, 226 kB]
Keresteš G., Brković I., Kuterovac Jagodić G.
First author's affiliation: Department of Psychology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia

Conflicts between children and parents are a salient aspect of interaction in families with adolescents. Although during the last few decades many empirical studies on parent-child conflict have been conducted, their results are inconclusive and still much has to be investigated before we get clearer picture about the nature and developmental meaning of parent-child conflict. The aim of this study was to examine conflicts between Croatian adolescents and their parents, as well as to investigate relationships between conflicts and several indicators of pubertal development. The sample consisted of 219 intact families with early adolescents (10 to 15 years old). Children and parents independently completed questionnaire measure of parent-child conflict. Children's self-reports about pubertal development were also collected. Findings revealed that according to both parents' and children's ratings, conflicts were more frequent in mother-child than in father-child dyad. Parents generally perceived higher level of conflicts than children. In all parent-child dyads and according to all informants, conflicts most often occurred over home chores. Age and pubertal status, but not pubertal timing, were related to frequency of conflicts, with child's gender and source of information about conflict (i.e. informant) acting as moderators in these relationships.

3. Authority and authority styles in adolescents-parents relationships  [presentation, ppt, 933 kB]
Kuhar M.
University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social Sciences, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Firstly, the presentation provides an overview and criticism of the main approaches to parenting – i.e. the parenting style approach (Baumrind), parenting dimensions (Barber), the domain paradigm (Turiel, Smetana), family communication patterns (Ritchie and others) etc. On the basis of the overview I emphasize the absence of in-depth conceptualization of the construct of authority and I offer preliminary theoretical conceptualization of this concept. Then the concept is analyzed and applied empirically with the help of four vignettes about different parent-adolescent conflict situations. The quantitative data (scales on conversation and conformity orientation and psychological control) further explain this concept. Both, quantitative and qualitative data point out the concept of authority style as the communication enforcement of parental authority. The sample consisted of 194 11- to 18-year-old first born adolescents and both of their parents in Slovenia; therefore the qualitative and quantitative self-reports of all three sides are presented which has indicated some methodological considerations.

4. Attachment to family members and romantic partners with regard to completeness of family structure and the quality of parental relationship  
Jelić M., Kamenov Z., Ivanković P.
First author's affiliation: Department of Psychology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia

The aim of this research was to examine the differences in attachment to family members and romantic partners among individuals whose parents had divorced as opposed to those whose parents had high quality marriages and those whose parents had low quality marriages. 529 participants, students from various faculties of the University of Zagreb, were included in the research. 52.2% of them were female and 47.8% of them were male. The average age was M=21.6, SD=1.95. Data about family structure and the quality of parental relationship were obtained. Attachment to family members and attachment to romantic partners were assessed with comparable measures and results were computed separately for each dimension of both types of relations. Results showed significant sex differences only on Avoidance dimension in relationship with parents, but no gender differences were found on the Anxiety dimension, and no significant sex differences were found on dimensions of attachment to romantic partners. As far as effects of family structure and quality of parental relationship are concerned, significant differences emerged on Avoidance in attachment to family and on Anxiety in attachment to romantic partners due to low quality of parental relationship. No significant interactions of sex and family structure were found. Specifically, individuals whose parents had low marital quality while they were teenagers appear to be more avoidant towards their parents and more anxious in their romantic relationships in comparison with individuals in two other groups. These findings contribute to a new direction in research of consequences of divorce on children, which postulates parental marital discord accompanied by inadequate parental interaction and maladaptive communication strategies, and not merely divorce, to be the key factor detrimental to psychological functioning, well-being and social adjustment of children.

5. Predictors of parenting behavior and parenting satisfaction among parents that transited to parenting during the war in Croatia  [presentation, ppt, 459 kB]
Kuterovac Jagodić G., Keresteš G., Brković I.
First author's affiliation: Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Zagreb, Croatia

Studies have documented a relationship between different parental stressors and parenting behavior, but effects of war on parenting behavior has not been studied often. This study examined relationship between subjective war stress, perceived social support, parental mental health indices (depression and aggressive and hostile behavior), and self-reported parenting behaviors and parenting satisfaction. The sample consisted of 812 pairs of mothers and fathers from 10 Croatian cities and towns differently affected by the war 1991-1995. The mean age of mothers was 39 and fathers 42 years at the time of data collection, i.e. 25 and 28 at the beginning of the war. The average number of children per family was two, and their age at the time of the study ranged from 10 to 15 years. There were 54.7% daughters and all the children were born during the war in Croatia. Separate hierarchical regression analyses were performed for maternal and paternal positive and negative parenting and parenting satisfaction as dependent variables. In each regression child demographic variables were entered first (age and gender), followed by self perceived negative effects of war on relationship with others, on life values and on life circumstances, social support was entered in the third step, and parental mental health indices entered in the last step. The results indicate significant association of self perceived negative effects of war, parental mental health and social support with their parenting behavior and satisfaction. These associations suggest that war and problems with mental health may have deleterious effects on parental behavior and parenting satisfaction, while self perceived social support seems to have more beneficial effect on positive parental behaviors and parenting satisfaction than on negative parental behaviors.