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12-11-2019 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 1/2020

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 1/2020

Do Parenting Practices and Child Disclosure Predict Parental Knowledge? A Meta-Analysis

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 1/2020
Dong Liu, Dongzhen Chen, B. Bradford Brown
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These authors contributed equally: Dong Liu, Brad B. Brown

Supplementary information

The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10964-019-01154-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.


Parental knowledge of a child’s whereabouts, activities, and relationships is one of the most salient factors protecting adolescents against delinquency and misconduct. It is important to understand which strategies are the most effective. Little is known about the relative strength of associations between different parental strategies and parental knowledge, as well as the potential moderating factors of these associations. Seeking to clarify the effectiveness of various strategies in providing parents with knowledge about their adolescent (ages 10–18) offspring’s activities and relationships, this meta-analytic review of 32 studies showed that children’s disclosure was significantly better than any parental strategy except for parental warmth, which, along with behavioral control, seems to set the stage for the effectiveness of children’s disclosure. Consistent with previous findings, psychological control was found to be the strategy with the lowest effect size. Further moderation analyses suggested that behavioral control had a better effect in Eastern than in Western cultures. Longitudinal studies were infrequent and displayed significantly lower effect sizes than one-time (correlational) studies for parental solicitation and children’s disclosure. Parental warmth was the best long-acting strategy. The effect of behavioral control was higher for mothers than fathers, suggesting that behavioral control was better executed by mothers. These findings enhance our understanding of primary sources of parental knowledge of adolescents’ activities and relationships. Implications for future research and design of interventions are also discussed.

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