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02-09-2020 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 11/2020 Open Access

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 11/2020

Longitudinal Linkages Between Father and Mother Autonomy Support and Adolescent Problem Behaviors: Between-Family Differences and Within-Family Effects

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 11/2020
Paula Vrolijk, Caspar J. Van Lissa, Susan J. T. Branje, Wim H. J. Meeus, Renske Keizer
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s10964-020-01309-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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Despite existing evidence on negative associations between parental autonomy support and children’s internalizing and externalizing problem behavior, it is difficult to draw conclusions on the effect that parents’ autonomy support has on children’s problem behavior. This study contributed to the existing literature by unraveling the temporal ordering of parental autonomy support and adolescent problem behavior. In addition, this study examined whether these linkages differed by parent’s sex, child sex, and reporter of autonomy support. Data of 497 adolescents (mean age at T1 = 13.03 years, percentage male = 56.9) and their parents from six annual waves of the Dutch study Research on Adolescent Development And Relationships (RADAR) were used. The results showed that stable differences between families explained most linkages between autonomy support and problem behavior. Adolescents with fewer problem behaviors have fathers (both child- and parent-reported) and mothers (only child-reported) who are more autonomy supportive. The results did not differ between boys and girls. The findings suggest that prior studies may have overstated the existence of a causal effect of parental autonomy support on adolescent problem behavior.

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