Interparental Relationship and Adolescent Adjustment: The Mediating Roles of Psychological Control, Autonomy Support, and Basic Psychological Needs
Koçak , Aylin
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Guided by the spillover hypothesis and the self-determination theory, the main purpose of the present dissertation is to examine whether interparental relationship dimensions relate to adolescent’ adjustment by means of the parenting and basic psychological needs. Three studies were conducted in the scope of this dissertation. In Study 1, the relations among interparental conflict (IPC), adolescents’ relational aggression, and loneliness by means of maternal psychological control were longitudinally investigated. Participants were 527 Turkish adolescents (Mage = 14.36 years, SD = 0.33) and 307 mothers (Mage = 41.18 years, SD = 4.47). Analyses through structural equation modeling indicated that IPC (as assessed by both the adolescents and mothers) related positively to maternal psychological control (as assessed again by both of them) which in turn predicted adolescent-reported relational aggression and loneliness, 8 months later. In Study 2, the associations among interparental conflict to adolescent’s depressive feelings and life satisfaction by means of maternal autonomy support and adolescent need frustration were examined. Participants were 3,075 Turkish adolescents (Mage = 17.11 years, SD = 0.36) and 1,040 mothers (Mage = 41.93 years, SD = 5.15). Results from path analysis showed that interparental conflict related to less maternal autonomy support, and in turn to higher adolescent need frustration. High need frustration, in turn, predicted greater adolescent depressive feelings and lower life satisfaction, 6 months later. In Study 3, the relations among weekly reports of mother’s interparental conflict, perceived partner responsiveness, and maternal autonomy-support by means of maternal psychological need satisfaction were investigated. During 6 consecutive weeks, 258 mothers (Mage = 41.71 years, SD = 4.78) and their 157 adolescents (Mage = 14.92 years, SD = 1.72) provided weekly reports of the study variables via an online survey. Analyses through multilevel modeling showed that mother’s need satisfaction was predicted by lower levels of interparental conflict and greater levels of perceived partner responsiveness. Maternal need satisfaction, in turn, was positively associated with mother and adolescent reports of maternal autonomy-support. Further, these week-to-week associations were partly moderated by mother’s perfectionism. Results and their implications, as well as the strengths and limitations of the studies, were discussed in the light of the literature.