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26-11-2018 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 2/2019

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 2/2019

Parenting Strategies and Adolescents’ Cyberbullying Behaviors: Evidence from a Preregistered Study of Parent–Child Dyads

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 2/2019
Nicole Legate, Netta Weinstein, Andrew K. Przybylski


Little is known about how parents may protect against cyberbullying, a growing problem-behavior among youth. Guided by self-determination theory, a theory concerned with effectively motivating and regulating behavior, six preregistered hypotheses concerning parenting strategies of regulating cyberbullying behavior were tested in 1004 parent–child dyads (45.9% female adolescents; adolescents were either 14 (49.5%) or 15 (50.5%) years old). The results largely supported hypotheses: Parents who used more autonomy-supportive strategies—understanding the adolescent’s perspective, offering choice, and giving rationales for prohibitions—had adolescents who reported engaging in less cyberbullying than parents who used controlling strategies (especially using guilt, shame, and conditional regard). Further, this was mediated by lower feelings of reactance to, or a desire to do the opposite of, parents’ requests. The discussion focuses on the limits of this study to investigate reciprocal effects of adolescent behavior shaping parenting strategies—a critical agenda for future research—as well as the potential benefits of interventions aimed at increasing parental autonomy support for reducing cyberbullying and other problem behaviors in adolescents.

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