Preadolescent psychological well-being: determining the association with maternal psychological control and family environment
Background: The family and parents could either provide protective factors or initiate
vulnerability for children who are exposed to a high-risk environment such as crime in a community. The aim of this study was to examine the relationships between maternal psychological control, family environment (cohesion and conflict) and the psychological well-being (self-esteem and satisfaction with life) of preadolescents.
Methods: A quantitative approach with a cross-sectional correlational design was used to obtain self-reported data from 412 preadolescents. The mean age of participants was 11 years with the majority being female (60%) in Grade 5. The Coopersmith Self-esteem Inventory and the Satisfaction with Life Scale were used to assess the psychological well-being of preadolescents, the Parent Psychological Control Questionnaire for psychologically controlling parenting practices and the Family Environment Scale for family functioning.
Results: The results suggest that scores were relatively high on both self-esteem and satisfaction with life. Mothers were not perceived as applying strong psychologically controlling parenting practices. Families were perceived as being more cohesive and had less conflict. Regression analysis results show that the combination of family environment and maternal psychological control accounted for 22% of the variance in self-esteem and 12% of the variance in satisfaction with life.
Conclusion: The findings provide an understanding of how enhancing and hindering environments could predict psychological well-being of children. Interventions for parents should include a broad family-based perspective so as to show parents the implications of their choice of parenting on child well-being.
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