Volume 11

Actual and Perceived Parental Styles and the Ramifications on Adult Child-Parent Relationships

David C. Gorman and Jennifer DeManche

This study examines late adolescents’ and young adults’ relationships with their parents, based on self-reports of past and current interactions and evaluations of hypothetical adult parent-child interactions. Parental style qualities and their bearing on the parent-child relationship once the adult-child has become independent were also examined. Volunteers aged 18-23 read one of four randomly assigned scenarios portraying different parental styles. The 94 participants rated the depicted relationship on contact, supportiveness, closeness, and similarity to their own family style. Participants also completed a questionnaire which determined their parents’ style and their current relationship. Results indicated that authoritative households were perceived as having higher parental support and contact, provided more actual support and had more direct contact than other households. Results show that the parent-child relationship evolves and thrives during the transition from late adolescence into early adulthood and also demonstrates the lasting impact of a child’s experience on adult-child parent relationships.

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