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25-09-2019 | Original Paper

The Role of Logical Consequences and Autonomy Support in Children’s Anticipated Reactions of Anger and Empathy

Journal of Child and Family Studies
Jean-Michel Robichaud, Joannie Lessard, Laurence Labelle, Geneviève A. Mageau
Belangrijke opmerkingen
These authors contributed equally: Jean-Michel Robichaud, Joannie Lessard
Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.



Authority exertion in rule-breaking contexts represents both a considerable challenge and a unique opportunity for parents to foster their children’s internalization process (i.e., children’s process of understanding and abiding to the importance of various rules and their underlying values). In this study, we investigated the effects of two interpersonal rule-reminding climates (autonomy-supportive vs. controlling) and two constraint strategies (logical consequences vs. mild punishments) on two emotional precursors of internalization (empathy and anger). We also extended findings from a past study by looking at the association between these two emotions and children’s acceptability beliefs regarding authority strategies.


221 children (Mage = 10.42) read hypothetical rule-breaking scenarios, indicated their anticipated reactions in terms of anger and empathy, and rated the acceptability of the exerted authority strategies.


Autonomy-supportive climates and logical consequences elicited less anger and more empathy than respectively controlling climates and mild punishments. This emotional pattern was in turn associated with greater acceptability beliefs. Finally, significant indirect links from interpersonal climates and constraint strategies to acceptability beliefs, via anticipated emotions, were observed.


These results highlight the potential relevance of using logical consequences in an autonomy-supportive climate, as this combination of strategies seems more effective in promoting emotional precursors of children’s internalization process.

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