Family Context Variables and the Development of Self-Regulation in College Students
Strage, Amy A., Adolescence
The ability to make a successful transition to and through college is one of the most important challenges faced by adolescents and young adults. Researchers have clearly demonstrated the significance of self-regulation skills in such academic contexts. Collectively, they paint the self-regulating learner as someone who is metacognitively sophisticated, who can assess the requirements of the learning task at hand, and who can identify and deploy the appropriate learning strategies; the self-regulating learner is someone who is able to make appropriate attributions for success and failure, and who readily accepts responsibility for his or her own learning (Pintrich & DeGroot, 1990; Pressley & Ghatala, 1990; Rohwer & Thomas, 1989; Schunk, 1989; Thomas & Rohwer, 1993; Weinstein, Zimmerman, & Palmer, 1988; Zimmerman, 1990). But while studies have begun to specify how features of students' immediate learning environments affect the development and use of self-regulation skills, relatively little attention has been paid to the role of the family context in fostering or impeding the development of these skills. Studies that have addressed this topic for elementary school age children have found that parental support for autonomy is positively related to children's self-reports of autonomous self-regulation (Grolnick & Ryan, 1989), and that these parenting practices are predictive of children's adoption of an intrinsic academic achievement motivational orientation (Ginsburg & Bronstein, 1993).
This paper has two goals: (1) to propose a conceptual framework for examining the relationship between family context variables and the development of self-regulation skills, and (2) to present some initial findings from a study of the parental practices and values associated with academic self-regulation in college students.
The conceptual framework proposed here integrates two theoretical approaches to understanding the influence of parenting on children's development. First, it draws on the work of attachment theorists (e.g., Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, & Wall, 1978; Bowlby, 1982; Bretherton, 1985; Main, Kaplan, & Cassidy, 1985), who have shown that particular patterns of parent-child interaction (varieties of secure attachment relationships) permit the child to develop self-efficacy, self-confidence, and a veridical sense of self, while others (insecure-avoidant and insecure-ambivalent patterns of parent-child attachment relationships) lead the child to be relatively dependent, to lack self-confidence, and to have inappropriately positive or negative self-evaluations. Not surprisingly, attachment theorists suggest that the nature of children's relationships with their attachment figures (parents, other primary caregivers) shapes many aspects of their social-emotional and intellectual development (see, for example, the report in Bretherton & Waters, 1985). Children who have secure attachment relationships with their parents are rated as better adjusted, more self-confident, more willing to explore their surroundings, and more socially and cognitively competent throughout early childhood than are children with insecure attachment relationships (Ainsworth, Bell, & Stayton, 1971; Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, & Wall, 1978; Bretherton & Waters, 1985; Cassidy & Berlin, 1994; Main, Kaplan, & Cassidy, 1985). A growing body of research also documents long-term effects of the quality of early attachment relationships, lasting into adolescence and adulthood (Kobak, 1991; Kobak & Sceery, 1988; Hesse & Van Ijzendoorn, 1991; Pearson, 1991).
Second, the framework developed in this study also draws on the work of researchers investigating the effects of parenting style. Baumrind (1967, 1973) has identified three major styles of parenting, which she has linked to a range of developmental outcomes. The first style, authoritative parenting, seems best for equipping students to meet the challenges of academic contexts, in that it is associated with the development of instrumental competence in preschoolers and elementary school children (Baumrind, 1973) and in adolescents (Baumrind, 1991). The other two parenting styles, authoritarian and permissive, appear to fail to enable children to develop a range of self-directing, self-monitoring, and self-regulatory abilities undergirding success in academic contexts. …
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Publication information: Article title: Family Context Variables and the Development of Self-Regulation in College Students. Contributors: Strage, Amy A. - Author. Journal title: Adolescence. Volume: 33. Issue: 129 Publication date: Spring 1998. Page number: 17+. © 1999 Libra Publishers, Inc. COPYRIGHT 1998 Gale Group.
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