Control or involvement? Relationship between authoritative parenting style and adolescent depressive symptomatology


Among factors predicting adolescent mood problems, certain aspects of the parent–adolescent relationship play an important
role. In previous studies, children whose parents had an authoritative style of parenting reported the best behavioral and
psychological outcomes. Therefore, the main goal of this paper was to investigate the role of authoritative parenting style
and other family variables (negative family interactions and positive identification with parents) in adolescents’ depressive
symptomatology. The study was carried out in all primary and secondary schools in Mako and the surrounding region in Hungary
in the spring of 2010, students of grades 7–12 (N = 2,072): 49.2% of the sample were males; 38.1% primary school pupils; and 61.9% high school students. Self-administered
questionnaires contained items of measuring depressive symptoms (CDI) and parental variables beyond sociodemographics. Beyond
descriptive statistics and calculation of correlation coefficients, multiple linear regression analyses were applied to detect
relationships between parental variables and depressive scores by gender. Overall, our data support a negative association
between authoritative parenting style and adolescent mood problems, particularly among girls. Among boys, only mother’s responsiveness
was a significant predictor. Among girls, father’s parenting played a decisive role; not only his responsiveness but also
demandingness. Interestingly, mother’s demandingness went together with an elevated depressive score for girls. Prevention
programs cannot guarantee success without taking into account the role of parents. Teaching positive parenting seems to be
a part of these prevention programs that may include facilitating intimate yet autonomous relationships.

  • Content Type Journal Article
  • Category Original Contribution
  • Pages 1-7
  • DOI 10.1007/s00787-012-0246-0
  • Authors
    • B. F. Piko, Department of Behavioral Sciences, University of Szeged, Szentharomsag street 5, Szeged, 6722 Hungary
    • M. Á. Balázs, Department of Behavioral Sciences, University of Szeged, Szentharomsag street 5, Szeged, 6722 Hungary
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