Guilt trips and love withdrawal: Does mothers' use of psychological control predict depressive symptoms among African American adolescents?

Jelani Mandara*, Crysta L. Pikes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined the effects of maternal psychological control on the depressive symptoms of 152 lower socioeconomic status African American adolescents. After controlling for the effects of other parenting practices, psychological control had a strong positive relationship with girls' depressive symptoms, but none for boys, even though the 2 groups reported the same levels of psychological control. As predicted, girls' sense of control and agency completely mediated the effects of psychological control. Those who reported higher levels of psychological control reported lower self-control and higher depressive symptoms. It was concluded that girls are probably more aware of the covert messages and more concerned for their mother's feelings than are boys. Thus, girls may be more willing than boys to sacrifice their own identity; however, there may be psychological consequences for their sacrifice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)602-612
Number of pages11
JournalFamily Relations
Volume57
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2008

Keywords

  • Adolescent mental health
  • African American families
  • Depression
  • Parenting
  • Psychological control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

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