Parental overprotection as a predictor for adolescents’ externalizing behavior problems and the moderating effect of family socioeconomic status and adolescents’ gender
Hooft van Huijsduijnen, Anne
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Background: Parental involvement is generally related to positive child outcomes, but when this involvement is taken too far and becomes overprotective, it is associated with higher levels of adolescent behavioral problems. Adolescents who express externalizing behavior might face many negative consequences. Research on the effect overprotective parenting has on externalizing behavior problems has not been done often. Therefore, this study examined the predictive influence of overprotective parenting, hypothesizing that this parenting-style predicts an increase in externalizing behavior problems. This relation is expected to be stronger for adolescent boys and families with a high socioeconomic status. Methods: The main hypothesis is assessed by using data from the TRAILS study (N = 2230; 51% female; Mage = 11.10 years). Results: Adolescents who perceive their parents’ parenting style as more protective, reported an increase in externalizing behavior problems. Results indicated that lower SES groups reported higher levels of externalizing behavior problems, however, no interaction was found, and the relationship was reverse to what was hypothesized. Furthermore, the effect of parental overprotection on externalizing behavior does not differ between boys and girls. Conclusions: Adolescents who perceive their parents’ behavior as more protective, express more externalizing behavior problems. This provides important implications for ensuring adolescents’ healthy development.