Children’s and Parents’ Perceptions of Parenting: Correlates, Predictors, and Moderators
Korelitz, Katherine Elizabeth
The present study (1) examined the extent of parent-child congruence in their reports about parenting behaviors, and identified correlates of this congruence, (2) explored the prospective relation between congruence and children’s depressive symptoms 10 months later (T2), and (3) compared the relation of children’s and parents’ reports to observers’ ratings of parenting, and explored factors associated with this relation. Participants were 226 parent-child dyads (57% of parents had a current diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder). Children were 7-17 years old (M=12.53, SD=2.33). At the first assessment (T1), children and parents each completed the Children’s Report of Parental Behavior Inventory, which measures parents’ Acceptance and Psychological Control. Children also completed the Children’s Depression Inventory at T1 and T2. Bivariate correlations between children’s and parents’ reports of parental Acceptance (r=.37) and Psychological Control (r=.35) were low but significant. Parents reported significantly higher levels of parental Acceptance than did their children, but did not differ significantly regarding their reports of parental Psychological Control. Polynomial regression analyses indicated greater congruence about parental Acceptance in dyads that included children who were older, White, or had parents with higher education; greater congruence about parental Psychological Control was found for dyads that included children with higher depressive symptoms. Second, polynomial regression analyses showed that, controlling for T1 symptoms, the highest level of children’s T2 depressive symptoms occurred when parents reported that they were high in Acceptance while their children rated their parent as being low in Acceptance. Third, bivariate correlations revealed a low, but significant correlation between children’s and observers’ ratings and between parents’ and observers’ ratings, respectively, for Acceptance (r=.29; r=.25) and Psychological Control (r=.33; r=.26). Regression analyses indicated that children’s reports of parental Acceptance were most congruent with observers’ ratings among children with low levels of depressive symptoms, and for those whose parents were married; children’s reports and observers’ ratings of parental Psychological Control were most congruent among younger children. Implications of these findings for researchers and clinicians are discussed and highlight the need for further research about the meaning of parent–child incongruence, its relation to children’s psychopathology, and interventions for reducing it.
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