Autonomous and Controlled Motivation for Parenting: Associations with Parent and Child Outcomes

Tomas Jungert, Renée Landry, Mireille Joussemet, Geneviève Mageau, Isabelle Gingras, Richard Koestner

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14 Citations (SciVal)


The present investigation examined motivation
for parenting and some of its correlates in parents and
children. The data came from samples of 151 first-time
mothers of infants, 153 mothers of middle school children,
and 260 mothers and fathers of high school children. Parents
provided self-report data about their motivation in
their parenting role as well as reports of role satisfaction,
parental competence, child temperament, and parenting
styles. Using three samples, factor analyses confirmed the
distinction between autonomous and controlled forms of
parenting motivation. Autonomous motivation refers to
investing in the parenting role because it is interesting and
meaningful whereas controlled motivation refers to
investment based on external or internal pressures. Results
showed that autonomous motivation was associated concurrently
with parenting satisfaction and competence as
well as with authoritative and autonomy-supportive parenting
styles. Child temperament was unrelated to parenting
motivation, but mothers reported greater autonomous
motivation for girls than boys and for younger children
rather than older children. Autonomous parenting motivation
was associated with children reporting autonomy
supportive parenting and high levels of well-being. A
prospective analysis showed that controlled parenting
motivation in first time mothers was associated with
reductions in parenting satisfaction as infants became
toddlers. A similar analysis showed that autonomous parenting
motivation was associated with children developing
fewer behavior problems whereas controlled motivation
was associated with children developing more behavioral
problems. The present findings highlight the heuristic value
of assessing why parents invest themselves in the parenting
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1932-1942
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Psychology


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