Linking parental autonomy support and parental structure to the development of inhibitory control in 4-year-olds
Kwon, Josephine Arum
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This study examined the main and joint effects of maternal autonomy support(AS) and maternal structure(ST) on preschoolers’ inhibitory control, as well as the moderating effect of child emotional negativity on the relationship between parenting and preschoolers’ inhibitory control. No significant main or joint effects of autonomy support and structure on child inhibitory control were found. However, child emotional negativity significantly moderated the effect of autonomy support in the etch-a-sketch task on preschooler’s inhibitory control. Children high (vs. low or average) in emotional negativity displayed the highest or lowest inhibitory control when mothers displayed high or low autonomy support, respectively. A person-centered analysis revealed two clusters of mothers based on patterns of autonomy support and structure; preschoolers with mothers high in AS and ST had higher inhibitory control, whereas preschoolers with mothers low in AS and ST. Self-determination theory and the differential susceptibility hypothesis are discussed in relation to the findings.