Internalization of Values and Self-Esteem among Brazilian Teenagers from Authoritative, Indulgent, Authoritarian, and Neglectful Homes

By Martinez, Isabel; Garcia, Jose Fernando | Adolescence, March 22, 2008 | Go to article overview

Internalization of Values and Self-Esteem among Brazilian Teenagers from Authoritative, Indulgent, Authoritarian, and Neglectful Homes


Martinez, Isabel, Garcia, Jose Fernando, Adolescence


This study examines the impact of parental socialization on Brazilian teenagers' self-esteem and their internalization of values. Internalization of social values and the development of the child's self-esteem are important objectives in parental socialization (Kochanska, Aksan, & Nichols, 2003; Coopersmith, 1967; Hazzard, Christensen, & Margolin, 1983; Kochanska, Grusec, & Goodnow, 1994). To evaluate the impact of parental methods of socialization on those and other child outcomes which assess children's psychological and social adjustment, some research has focused on typologies of parenting (e.g., Baumrind, 1968, 1991; Cakir & Aydin, 2005; Steinberg, Lamborn, Darling, Mounts, & Dornbusch, 1994; Steinberg & Blatt-Eisengart, 2006). Two orthogonal constructs of parental behavior have traditionally been considered: demandingness and responsiveness (Baumrind, 1989, 1991; Maccoby & Martin, 1983). Demandingness refers to the extent to which parents show control, power assertion, supervision, maturity demands, and set limits. Responsiveness refers to the extent to which parents show their children affective warmth and acceptance, give them support, and reason with them. Based on these two dimensions, four parenting styles have been identified (Baumrind, 1991; Maccoby & Martin, 1983): Authoritative--parents are high on both demandingness and responsiveness; Indulgent--parents are low on demandingness and high on responsiveness; Authoritarian--parents are high on demandingness and low on responsiveness; and Neglectful--parents are low on both demandingness and responsiveness.

A variety of studies conducted in the United States on European-American families have shown that authoritative parenting is associated with higher child adjustment and psychosocial competence than authoritarian, indulgent, or neglectful parenting (Lamborn, Mounts, Steinberg, & Dornbusch, 1991; Maccoby & Martin, 1983; Steinberg, Lamborn, Dornbusch, & Darling, 1992). The results of these studies have shown that high levels of warmth, responsiveness, and involvement combined with high levels of strictness, fosters optimal adjustment in Euro-American children by offering emotional support by means of responsiveness, and establishing guidelines, limits, and expectations by means of demandingness.

However, the evidence for cross-cultural validity in the associations between parenting styles and adolescent outcomes is unclear (e.g., Steinberg, Mounts, Lamborn, & Dornbusch, 1991). There is some evidence of positive influence of the authoritarian parenting style among Asian and Arab adolescents (Chao, 2001; Dwairy, Achoui, Abouserie, & Farah, 2006; Quoss & Zhao, 1995). This result has been explained by referring to the meaning that authoritarian parenting can have in Asiatic cultures. According to Grusec, Rudy, and Martini (1997) in those contexts, strict discipline is understood as beneficial for the children; both parents and children see authoritative practices as an organizational strategy that fosters harmony within the family and ensures the child's morale (Chao 1994; Ho, 1989). It has also been suggested that for Asians the authoritarian style is associated with parental concern, caring, and love (Tobin, Wu, & Davidson, 1989; Chao, 1994). On the other hand, in certain cultural contexts indulgent parenting has been associated with the same or better outcomes in adolescents than authoritative parenting. For example, in Spain (Musitu & Garcia, 2004) and Italy (Marchetti, 1997) it has been shown, using different parenting style measures (Musitu & Garcia, 2004), that adolescents with indulgent parents achieve equal or higher scores in self-esteem than do adolescents from authoritative parrents. Also in Mexico, Villalobos, Cruz, and Sanchez (2004) found no differences between adolescents from authoritative and indulgent parenting on diverse measures of competence and adjustment. …

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