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Child Dev. 1996 Dec;67(6):3296-319.

Parental psychological control: revisiting a neglected construct.

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  • 1Brigham Young University, USA.


This article argues for the value in socialization research of focusing explicitly on the construct of parental psychological control of children--control that constrains, invalidates, and manipulates children's psychological and emotional experience and expression. The article traces the history of the construct and distinguishes psychological control theoretically and empirically from more behaviorally oriented control. 2 new measures of psychological control are developed. Data from 3 separate studies are presented which indicate that psychological control can be adequately measured across demographically varied samples and mode of measurement. In both cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses, psychological control, particularly as perceived by preadolescents and adolescents, is consistently predictive of youth internalized problems (depression) and, in some cases, externalized problems (delinquency). In contrast, behavioral control is related primarily to externalized problems.

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