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J Adolesc. 2013 Feb;36(1):91-101. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2012.09.010. Epub 2012 Dec 8.

Mother knows best? Inhibitory maternal gatekeeping, psychological control, and the mother-adolescent relationship.

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School of Family Life, Brigham Young University, 2092C JFSB, Provo, UT 84602, USA.


We used structural equation modeling to explore associations between inhibitory maternal gatekeeping attitudes, reports of inhibitory maternal gatekeeping behaviors, maternal psychological control, observed mother-adolescent warmth, and adolescent reports of maternal involvement. Our random stratified sample consisted of 315 mothers and their adolescents. Results revealed that inhibitory maternal gatekeeping attitudes were positively associated with reports of inhibitory gatekeeping behaviors. Psychological control fully mediated the relationship between inhibitory gatekeeping attitudes, reports of inhibitory gatekeeping behaviors, and adolescent reports of maternal involvement. Though gatekeeping attitudes and behaviors were not associated with observed mother-adolescent warmth, psychological control was negatively associated with observed mother-adolescent warmth. Thus, although prior research emphasized the negative effects of inhibitory gatekeeping on father-child relationships, the present research elucidates that in conjunction with psychological control, inhibitory gatekeeping negatively influences the mother-adolescent relationship. All findings are discussed in the context of family systems theory.

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