Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Weekly Diary Study of Adolescents' Emotional and Behavior Reactions to Parents' Academic-Domain Influence Attempts
by Lessard, Jared Spencer, Ph.D., University of California, Irvine, 2011, 151; 3477941
Abstract (Summary)

This study focused on the impact of domain-general characteristics of the parent-adolescent relationship, domain-specific parent characteristics, and characteristics of the adolescent, on parents' use of persuasion and pressure influence tactics to attempt to influence their children's homework and study habits, and adolescents' emotional and behavioral reactions to those tactics. I also examined whether adolescents' reactions to parents' influence attempts alter parents' later influence-related behaviors.

Participants were 81 freshmen and sophomores (51% female; 94% Caucasian) at a high school in New England. Participants completed a background questionnaire including demographics, scales assessing their perceptions of parent characteristics, including parental warmth and acceptance, parents' work orientation, and parental concern about study habits, as well as scales assessing the adolescents' own characteristics, including their grades, feelings of academic self-efficacy, mastery and performance achievement goals, and trait reactance. Participants then completed 6 weekly diary surveys including scales assessing parents' use of persuasion and pressure tactics to influence study habits, adolescents' negative emotional reactions and behavioral reactance to those persuasion and pressure tactics, respectively, and the amount of studying and homework completed by the adolescent, during the last week.

Consistent with hypotheses, adolescents' poor grades predicted parents' use of persuasion tactics to influence adolescents' study habits. Adolescents' low self-efficacy and behavioral reactance to persuasion predicted parents' later use of pressure tactics. Adolescents who perceived their parents as having high levels of work orientation, and adolescents who were high in a mastery goal orientation had less negative emotional reactions to parents' perceived persuasion attempts. Parents' perceived work orientation also predicted less behavioral reactance to persuasion. As expected, parents' use of pressure tactics and adolescents' trait reactance both positively predicted negative emotional reactions, and behavioral reactance, to persuasion. Adolescents' with high levels of performance goals had more negative emotional reactions to pressure tactics, and trait reactance was associated with greater behavioral reactance to pressure tactics. As expected, parents' use of persuasion tactics was associated with increased time spent on studying and homework. These findings have implications for our understanding of social control processes and parent-adolescent relationships.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Greenberger, Ellen
Commitee: Chen, Chuansheng, Heckhausen, Jutta
School: University of California, Irvine
Department: Psychology and Social Behavior - Ph.D.
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 73/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Developmental psychology, Individual & family studies
Keywords: Academic-domain influence, Adolescence, Adolescents' emotion, Behavior reactions, Conflict, Influence tactics, Parent-adolescent interactions, Parenting
Publication Number: 3477941
ISBN: 9781124950716
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