Parenting Styles and Learned Resourcefulness of Turkish Adolescents

Article excerpt

The role of parenting styles in self-control-related behaviors of adolescents has been of interest in many studies. These studies clearly demonstrate that parental warmth, support, and monitoring facilitate development of adolescents' self-control skills which help them to regulate their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors (e.g., Finkenauer, Engels, & Baumeister, 2005; Strage, 1998).

Related to the acquisition of an effective repertoire of self-control behaviors, Rosenbaum (1980) has proposed the term "learned resourcefulness." Learned resourcefulness has been described as "an acquired repertoire of behaviors and skills (mostly cognitive) by which a person self-regulates internal responses (such as emotions, cognitions or pain) that interfere with the smooth execution of a desired behavior" (Rosenbaum & Ben-Ari, 1985, p. 200). Rosenbaum developed the Self-Control Schedule (SCS; Rosenbaum, 1980) to measure learned resourcefulness--one's general repertoire of learned resourcefulness skills. The behaviors assessed by the SCS cover the following: (a) use of cognitions and self-instructions to control emotional and physiological responses, (b) application of the problem-solving strategies (planning, problem definition, evaluating alternatives, and anticipating consequences), (c) ability to delay immediate gratification, and (d) general belief in one's ability to self-regulate internal events. Contrary to learned helplessness which is basically concerned with faulty attributions, learned resourcefulness is conceptualized in terms of coping skills applied under stress. The construct of learned resourcefulness was found to be related empirically to self-regulatory behaviors, such as coping with epilepsy (Rosenbaum & Palmon, 1984), effort attributions (Rosenbaum & Ben-Ari, 1985), and compliance with medical treatment recommendations (Rosenbaum & Ben-Ari Smira, 1986).

Results of more recent studies carried out with adolescents also indicated that high resourcefulness was related to fewer depressive symptoms (Huang, Sousa, Tu, & Hwang, 2005), better engagement in academic self-control behaviors (Kenneth & Keefer, 2006), better ability to deal effectively with academic stress (Akgun & Ciarrochi, 2003), success in weight loss self-control programs (Kenneth & Ackerman, 1995), success in quitting smoking (Kenneth, Morris, & Bangs, 2006), and lower level of alcohol consumption (Carey, Carey, Carnrike, & Meisler, 1990). All these studies suggested that high-resourceful adolescents, as compared to low-resourceful adolescents, are better at dealing with challenging or threatening situations by using a broader range of coping skills.

Regarding the development of learned resourcefulness, researchers proposed that it is acquired throughout life, starting in early childhood and developing during all kinds of learning (conditioning, modeling, and training) in the context of one's environment, including the home and family (Rosenbaum, 1980; Rosenbaum & Palmon, 1984; Zauszniewski, Chung, Chang, & Krafcik, 2002). These proposals indicate that parents can accomplish a great deal in terms of instilling good self-control in their children by providing them a supportive learning environment to develop and expand their learned resourcefulness repertoire. Therefore, we assumed that parenting styles might be considered as one of the most important determinants in the development of learned resourcefulness.

In this study parenting styles were assessed in terms of four attitudes: authoritative, authoritarian, indulgent, and neglectful, based on acceptance/involvement, and strictness/supervision dimensions (Lamborn, Mounts, Steinberg, & Dornbusch, 1991). The acceptance/ involvement dimension refers to the extent to which adolescents perceive their parents as loving, involved, and responsive. The strictness/ supervision dimension is related to parental control, monitoring, and supervision. …