Perceived Maternal Autonomy Support and Early Adolescent Emotion Regulation: A Longitudinal Study


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Abstract

This study investigated longitudinal associations between perceived maternal autonomy-supportive parenting and early adolescents' use of three emotion regulation (ER) styles: emotional integration, suppressive regulation, and dysregulation. We tested whether perceived maternal autonomy support predicted changes in ER and whether these ER styles, in turn, related to changes in adjustment (i.e., depressive symptoms, self-esteem). Participants (N = 311, mean age at Time 1 = 12.04) reported on perceived maternal autonomy support, their ER styles, and adjustment at two moments in time, spanning a one-year interval. Cross-lagged analyses showed that perceived maternal autonomy support predicted increases in emotional integration and decreases in suppressive regulation. By contrast, emotional dysregulation predicted decreases in perceived autonomy-supportive parenting. Further, increases in emotional integration were predictive of increases in self-esteem, and decreases in suppressive regulation were predictive of decreases in depressive symptoms. Together, the results show that early adolescents' perception of their mothers as autonomy-supportive is associated with increases in adaptive ER strategies and subsequent adjustment.

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