Observed Macro- and Micro-Level Parenting Behaviors During Preadolescent Family Interactions as Predictors of Adjustment in Emerging Adults With and Without Spina Bifida

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Objective To examine observed autonomy-promoting and -inhibiting parenting behaviors during preadolescence as predictors of adjustment outcomes in emerging adults with and without spina bifida (SB). Methods Demographic and videotaped interaction data were collected from families with 8/9-year-old children with SB (n = 68) and a matched group of typically developing youth (n = 68). Observed interaction data were coded with macro- and micro-coding schemes. Measures of emerging adulthood adjustment were collected 10 years later (ages 18/19 years; n = 50 and n = 60 for SB and comparison groups, respectively). Results Autonomy-promoting (behavioral control, autonomy-relatedness) and -inhibiting (psychological control) observed preadolescent parenting behaviors prospectively predicted emerging adulthood adjustment, particularly within educational, social, and emotional domains. Interestingly, high parent undermining of relatedness predicted better educational and social adjustment in the SB sample. Conclusions Parenting behaviors related to autonomy have long-term consequences for adjustment in emerging adults with and without SB.

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