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The Development of Maternal Psychological Control in Early Adolescence: Maternal, Youth, and Neighborhood Antecedents
Journal of Youth and Adolescence  (IF5.625),  Pub Date : 2022-06-16, DOI: 10.1007/s10964-022-01642-0
Duyen T. Trang, Tuppett M. Yates

Despite abundant research documenting negative associations between parental psychological control and youth adjustment, little is known about precursors of parental psychological control. The current study evaluated maternal, youth, and neighborhood predictors of changes in maternal psychological control across the transition to adolescence. Mother-youth dyads (N = 211, 50.2% female children; 46.4% Latinx, 17.5% Black, 11.4% white, and 24.7% multiracial) reported on maternal psychological control at youth ages 10 and 12. Controlling for youth ethnicity and race, family income-to-needs, and prior levels of maternal psychological control at age 10, structural equation models showed that maternal problems (i.e., anxiety, alcohol dependence, caregiving helplessness) predicted increases and youth externalizing problems (e.g., attention problems, rule-breaking) predicted decreases in maternal reports of psychological control. Neighborhood risks (i.e., poverty, crime, single-parent households) predicted increases in youth reports of maternal psychological control. Exploratory analyses by gender indicated that neighborhood risks predicted decreases in maternal reports of psychological control for girls, but increases in maternal reports of psychological control for boys. This study identified specific antecedents of maternal psychological control that can be targeted in future intervention efforts to reduce negative parenting to promote positive youth development.