E-mail Elien Mabbe
Phone 09 264 64 15
Room number 150.056
Category Scientific staff FWO

Research on parenting and socialization is increasingly addressing the role of autonomy-support and control in children’s and adolescents’ psychosocial development (Barber & Harmon, 2002; Grolnick, 2003; Soenens & Vansteenkiste, 2010). Autonomy-support is characteristic of parents and socialization figures who take their children’s perspective, who encourage children to make self-endorsed decisions, who offer choices, and who provide a meaningful rationale when the provision of choice is constrained (Deci, Eghrari, Patrick, & Leone, 1994; Soenens et al., 2007). Autonomy-support is related to children’s and adolescents’ general well-being and adjustment in specific life domains (Soenens & Vansteenkiste, 2005). In contrast, control is characteristic of socialization figures who are primarily preoccupied with their personal agenda and who pressure children to act, think, and feel in certain ways (Grolnick, Deci, & Ryan, 1997). A controlling style can be expressed either through externally controlling tactics, where children are pressured from without (e.g., punishment, deadlines, and controlling rewards), or through internally controlling tactics, where children are pressured from within by appealing to internally pressuring feelings such as guilt, shame, and separation anxiety. Controlling parenting has been shown to predict a host of behavioral and emotional developmental problems in children and adolescents (Barber & Harmon, 2002; Grolnick, 2003; Pomerantz & Eaton, 2001; Soenens & Vansteenkiste, 2010).

On the basis of person x environment interaction models, there is also a trend in socialization research to examine, in addition to the role of main effects of parenting, the role of interactions between parenting and child personality in the prediction of developmental outcomes. This research is typically conducted against the background of Thomas and Chess’ (1977) goodness-of-fit model in which it is asserted that the degree of fit between parenting style and child personality is a key determinant of children’s adjustment. A number of studies, including studies conducted at our own department, have identified the role of such interactions in the prediction of negative developmental outcomes such as internalizing and externalizing problems (De Clercq, Van Leeuwen, De Fruyt, Van Hiel, & Mervielde, 2008; Van Leeuwen, Mervielde, Braet, & Bosmans, 2004). An important, yet understudied, question however is whether child personality would also moderate the effects of autonomy-supportive and controlling parenting.

Bibliography Bibliography
Recent publications
  • Mabbe, E., Soenens, B., Vansteenkiste, M., & Van Leeuwen, K. (2016). Do Personality Traits Moderate Relations Between Psychologically Controlling Parenting and Problem Behavior in Adolescents?  Journal of Personality, 84, 381-392. doi: 10.1111/jopy.12166

  • Mabbe, E., Soenens, B., Vansteenkiste, M., & De Pauw, S. (2016). Does perceived autonomy-supportive parenting relate to better adjustment only among adolescents with an autonomous personality? Distinguishing between two meanings of the notion of goodness-of-fit. Manuscript submitted for publication.

  • Mabbe, E., Soenens, B., Vansteenkiste, M., van der Kaap-Deeder, J., & Mouratidis, A. (2016). Day-to-day variation in autonomy-supportive and psychologically controlling parenting: The role of parents' daily experiences of need satisfaction and need frustration. Manuscript submitted for publication.

  • Brenning, K., Soenens, B., Vansteenkiste, M., & Mabbe, E. (2016). Ups and downs in the joy of parenthood: A diary study examining variability in maternal well-being as a function of basic psychological needs, parent personality, and infant temperament. Manuscript submitted for publication.

  • van der Kaap-Deeder, J., Vansteenkiste, M., Soenens, B., Loeys, T., Mabbe, E., & Gargurevich, R. (2015). Autonomy-Supportive Parenting and Autonomy-Supportive Sibling Interactions: The Role of Mothers' and Siblings' Psychological Need Satisfaction.  Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41, 1590-1604. doi: 10.1177/014616721560222

  • van der Kaap-Deeder, J., Vansteenkiste, M., Soenens, B., & Mabbe, E. (2015). Children's daily well-being: The role of mothers', teachers', and siblings' autonomy support and psychological control. Manuscript submitted for publication.

  • Van Petegem, S., Zimmer-Gembeck, M.J., Soenens, B., Vansteenkiste, M., Brenning, K., & Mabbe, E. (2016). Does parenting context modify adolescents' appraisals and coping with a situation of parental regulation? The case of autonomy-supportive vs. controllling parenting. Manuscript submitted for publication.

  • Wuyts, D., Soenens, B., Vansteenkiste, M. & Mabbe, E. (2016). Effects of social pressure and child performance on parents' use of control: An experimental investigation. Manuscript submitted for publication.


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