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Parenting styles and learned resourcefulness of Turkish adolescents.

The role of parenting styles in self-control-related behaviors of adolescents has been of interest in many studies. These studies clearly demonstrate that parental warmth, support, and monitoring facilitate development of adolescents' self-control skills which help them to regulate their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors (e.g., Finkenauer, Engels, & Baumeister, 2005; Strage, 1998).

Related to the acquisition of an effective repertoire of self-control behaviors, Rosenbaum (1980) has proposed the term "learned resourcefulness." Learned resourcefulness has been described as "an acquired repertoire of behaviors and skills (mostly cognitive) by which a person self-regulates internal responses (such as emotions, cognitions or pain) that interfere with the smooth execution of a desired behavior" (Rosenbaum & Ben-Ari, 1985, p. 200). Rosenbaum developed the Self-Control Schedule (SCS; Rosenbaum, 1980) to measure learned resourcefulness--one's general repertoire of learned resourcefulness skills. The behaviors assessed by the SCS cover the following: (a) use of cognitions and self-instructions to control emotional and physiological responses, (b) application of the problem-solving strategies (planning, problem definition, evaluating alternatives, and anticipating consequences), (c) ability to delay immediate gratification, and (d) general belief in one's ability to self-regulate internal events. Contrary to learned helplessness which is basically concerned with faulty attributions, learned resourcefulness is conceptualized in terms of coping skills applied under stress. The construct of learned resourcefulness was found to be related empirically to self-regulatory behaviors, such as coping with epilepsy (Rosenbaum & Palmon, 1984), effort attributions (Rosenbaum & Ben-Ari, 1985), and compliance with medical treatment recommendations (Rosenbaum & Ben-Ari Smira, 1986).

Results of more recent studies carried out with adolescents also indicated that high resourcefulness was related to fewer depressive symptoms (Huang, Sousa, Tu, & Hwang, 2005), better engagement in academic self-control behaviors (Kenneth & Keefer, 2006), better ability to deal effectively with academic stress (Akgun & Ciarrochi, 2003), success in weight loss self-control programs (Kenneth & Ackerman, 1995), success in quitting smoking (Kenneth, Morris, & Bangs, 2006), and lower level of alcohol consumption (Carey, Carey, Carnrike, & Meisler, 1990). All these studies suggested that high-resourceful adolescents, as compared to low-resourceful adolescents, are better at dealing with challenging or threatening situations by using a broader range of coping skills.

Regarding the development of learned resourcefulness, researchers proposed that it is acquired throughout life, starting in early childhood and developing during all kinds of learning (conditioning, modeling, and training) in the context of one's environment, including the home and family (Rosenbaum, 1980; Rosenbaum & Palmon, 1984; Zauszniewski, Chung, Chang, & Krafcik, 2002). These proposals indicate that parents can accomplish a great deal in terms of instilling good self-control in their children by providing them a supportive learning environment to develop and expand their learned resourcefulness repertoire. Therefore, we assumed that parenting styles might be considered as one of the most important determinants in the development of learned resourcefulness.

In this study parenting styles were assessed in terms of four attitudes: authoritative, authoritarian, indulgent, and neglectful, based on acceptance/involvement, and strictness/supervision dimensions (Lamborn, Mounts, Steinberg, & Dornbusch, 1991). The acceptance/ involvement dimension refers to the extent to which adolescents perceive their parents as loving, involved, and responsive. The strictness/ supervision dimension is related to parental control, monitoring, and supervision. Authoritative parents are high on both dimensions; however, neglectful parents are low on both dimensions. Authoritarian parents are low on acceptance/involvement but high on strictness/supervision, whereas indulgent parents are high on acceptance/involvement but low on strictness/supervision. Thus, authoritative refers to a warm but firm parenting style. On the contrary, authoritative parenting concerns are with obedience and conformity rather than the child's autonomy. Indulgent parents give a high level of freedom to their children by making few demands and exercising few controls, whereas parents who have a neglectful style devote little time and energy to their children, neither supporting nor monitoring their behaviors.

A considerable body of research has examined parental influence on a wide range of adolescents' emotional and behavioral outcomes. Among the four distinct parenting styles, authoritative parenting was found to be associated with measures of psychosocial competence (Steinberg, Lamborn, Darling, Mounts, & Dornbusch, 1994; Steinberg, Mounts, Lamborn, & Dornbusch, 1991), better school performance and engagement (Steinberg, Lamborn, Dornbusch, & Darling, 1992), general confidence, positive sense of self and positive academic outcomes (Strage, 1998), internal locus of control and higher self-concept (Mcclun & Merrell, 1998), and fewer behavioral problems (Finkenauer et al., 2005).

Although two lines of research, i.e., learned resourcefulness and parenting styles, have provided a great deal of knowledge regarding their contents and correlates, the relationship between these two constructs is quite limited and has been investigated with different aspects of parenting. For example, in one study (Brewin, Andrews, & Furnham, 1996), parental approval and child's perception of parental approval were found to be related to learned resourcefulness of undergraduates. In another study (Zauszniewski et al., 2002), maternal resourcefulness and child's automatic thoughts were found to be predictors of a child's resourcefulness. Based on these findings, we expected that variations in parenting styles might have a significant effect on adolescents' learned resourcefulness skills. More specifically, in the present study we examined the differences in the learned resourcefulness levels of male and female high school students as a function of perceived parenting styles.



Participants included 834 (360 males, 474 females) students from a high school in Ankara, Turkey. These students were enrolled in 9th grade (N = 172, 77 male, 95 female), 10th grade (N = 319, 141 male, 178 female), and 11th grade (N = 343, 142 male, 201 female). The high school was in a suburban middle to lower middle class socioeconomic area. The age of students ranged from 14 to 19, with a mean of 16.3 (SD = 0.87).


Measure of Learned Resourcefulness. The Self-Control Schedule (SCS) was originally developed by Rosenbaum (1980) and adopted for Turkish use by Siva (1991). SCS assesses tendencies to use self-control methods to resolve behavioral problems. The original version of SCS consists of 36 Likert-type items using a 6-point scale indicating the extent to which participants evaluate the item as characteristic of himself or herself (-3 very uncharacteristic of me, to + 3 very characteristic of me). A higher composite score indicates greater resourcefulness. The possible range of the original scale is between + 108 and -108 where 11 items are scored in a reverse order (Rosenbaum, 1980). Test-retest reliability was reported as .86 with a four-week interval, and alpha coefficients computed on six different samples of subjects ranged from .78 to .86.

In the Turkish version of SCS, Siva (1991) developed a new scoring system with a 5-point Likert scale in which the highest and lowest possible score ranged between 36 and 180, with higher scores indicating high resourcefulness. Cronbach's alpha coefficient was reported as .79 in a sample of 100 subjects. Following Siva (1991), Dag (1991) reported a Cronbach's alpha reliability of .79 in a sample of 532 subjects, and a test-retest correlation of .80, in a sample of 99 subjects. He reported a correlation coefficient of -.29 between the SCS and Rotter's Locus of Control Scale. In the present study, Cronbach's alpha was .76.

Measures of Parenting Styles. The Parenting Style Inventory (PSI) was originally developed by Lamborn et al. (1991) and adopted for Turkish use by Yilmaz (2000). The PSI consists of 26 items and measures three dimensions of parenting style: acceptance/involvement, strictness/supervision, and psychological autonomy. The acceptance/ involvement subscale measures the extent to which the adolescent perceives his or her parents as loving, responsive, and involved (sample item: When I have problems, I am sure that my parents will help me). The strictness/supervision subscale assesses parental monitoring and supervision (sample item: Do your parents permit you to go out at night during the week?). The psychological autonomy subscale assesses the extent to which parents employ noncoercive, democratic discipline and encourage their adolescents to express individuality in the family (sample item: My father and mother tell me not to argue with the elderly).

The acceptance/involvement and psychological autonomy dimensions consist of 9 items and are measured on a 4-point Likert scale. The possible total score obtained from each of the subscales ranges between 9 and 36. The Strictness/supervision subscale includes 8 items. The first two are measured on a 7-point Likert scale and the other items are measured on a 3-point Likert scale. The possible score on this subscale ranges between 8 and 32. Cronbach's alpha were reported as .72 for the acceptance/involvement scale; .76 for the strictness/supervision scale; and .82 for the psychological autonomy scale (Lamborn et al. 1991; Steinberg et al. 1992).

For the Turkish version of PSI, Yilmaz (2000) reported test-retest reliability coefficients and Cronbach's alphas computed on a sample of 299 high school students as .82 and .70 for the acceptance/involvement subscale, .88 and .69 for the strictness/supervision subscale, and .76 and .66 for the psychological autonomy subscale, respectively. Results of principle component analysis with Varimax rotation carried out with secondary school students yielded a 3-dimensional factor model with eigenvalues of 3.56 for the first, 2.84 for the second, and 1.95 for the third factor.

In the present study, the results of Principle Component Analysis with Varimax Rotation yielded 3 factors with eigenvalues of 4.35 for the first, 2.78 for the second, and 1.82 for the third factor, amounting to the 34.4% of the total variance. Cronbach's alpha coefficients were .66 for acceptance/involvement, .61 for strictness/supervision, and .54 for the psychological autonomy subscales. The factor structure and loadings were similar to those found in Yilmaz's study (2000).

In the present study, as Yilmaz (2000) suggested, four parenting styles were identified by assigning students according to the median scores obtained from acceptance/involvement (Median = 28.0, M = 27.6, SD = 4.28) and strictness/supervision (Median = 28.0, M = 26.8, SD = 4.39) dimensions. Students whose scores were above the median both on acceptance/involvement and strictness/supervision dimensions were assigned to the group of authoritative parenting style (n = 287). Students whose scores were below the median both on acceptance/ involvement and strictness/supervision dimensions were assigned to the group of neglectful parenting style (n = 185). Students whose scores were above the median on acceptance/involvement and below the median on strictness/supervision dimensions were assigned to the group of indulgent parenting style (n = 185). Students whose scores were below the median on acceptance/involvement and above the median on strictness/supervision dimensions were assigned to the group of authoritarian parenting style (n = 177).


The required permission was received from the related institution before administration of the study. Data were collected in classroom settings during the regularly scheduled guidance class by the first researcher who is also the school counselor. The purpose of the research was explained to the students and those who volunteered to participate in the study. Administration of the instruments took approximately 30 minutes. Students' anonymity and confidentiality were guaranteed.


To investigate the differences between learned resourcefulness of male and female students as a function of four parenting styles, a 2 (gender) x 4 (parenting styles) ANOVA was employed to SCS scores of the students. Results of the ANOVA indicated a significant main effect for parenting styles, F(3,826) = 24.44, p < .001, [[eta].sup.2] = .08). Neither the main effect of gender, F(1,826) = 2.10) nor the interaction effect of gender x parenting styles was significant, F(3,826) = 0.86).

Post hoc analyses of the ANOVA for learned resourcefulness scores consisted of conducting pair-wise comparisons to determine the differences among four groups of parenting styles. Therefore, using the Benferroni method, pair-wise comparison was tested at the .0125 (by dividing .05 by 4) in order to control for Type I error. Results showed that students who perceived their parents as authoritative (M = 125.9) scored higher in learned resourcefulness than those who perceived their parents as neglectful (M = 112.6) (p < .001) and authoritarian (M = 116.5) (p < .001). Students who perceived their parents as indulgent (M = 122.6) were also found to be significantly different from those who perceived their parents as neglectful (M = 112.6) (p < .001) and authoritarian (M = 116.5) (p < .001). Differences between indulgent and authoritative groups and neglectful and authoritarian groups were not significant.


Results of the study revealed that two groups of students (i.e., those who perceived their parents as authoritative and those who perceived their parents as indulgent, had a relatively higher level of learned resourcefulness than did those who perceived their parents as neglectful and authoritarian.

From a theoretical perspective, the intersections of acceptance/ involvement and strictness/supervision dimensions seem to suggest some common characteristics among parenting styles. As theoretically proposed, although there is a difference in terms of strictness/supervision, authoritative and indulgent parenting styles are high in acceptance/involvement and both have some common characteristics in terms of providing adolescents with a warm and accepting environment. On the other hand, ignoring the variations in strictness/supervision, authoritarian and neglectful parenting styles are characterized by lack of acceptance and warmth. Considering these theoretical conceptualizations, the results of the present study seem to suggest that a higher level of acceptance is more effective than the presence or absence of control in acquiring learned resourcefulness skills.

Although studies regarding indulgent parenting found a mixture of negative and positive outcomes, the findings of several empirical studies strongly suggest that, as compared to authoritarian and neglectful parenting groups, adolescents who perceive their parents as being authoritative had significantly more internal locus of control and higher self-concept (e.g., Mcclun & Merrell, 1998) and scored highest on measures of psychosocial competence (e.g., Lamborn et al., 1991). Regarding indulgent parenting style, on the other hand, some empirical findings reveal that adolescents from indulgent homes evidence a strong sense of social competence and self-confidence (Lamborn et al., 1991), and aider a one-year follow-up study, they became more positive in self-reliance (Steinberg et al., 1994). Thus, it can be concluded that parents, by providing acceptance and support rather than solely exhibiting control, might facilitate the enhancement of positive developmental outcomes in adolescents. Brewin et al. (1996) in investigating the relationship between learned resourcefulness and different aspects of parenting, provide some additional support for this view, demonstrating the role of perceived parental approval in the development of adolescents' learned resourcefulness levels.

Research regarding the relationship between parenting style and learned resourcefulness is scarce in Turkish literature. However, some studies demonstrate the positive outcomes of authoritarian and indulgent parenting styles in adolescents. For example, Sumer and Gungor (1999) found that authoritarian and indulgent parenting styles were more common than authoritative and neglectful styles among college students in Ankara, and reported that authoritative and indulgent styles were related to a high level of self-esteem and self-concept, secure attachment style, and a low level of trait anxiety among college students. Tunc and Tezer (2006) found that adolescents who perceived their parents as authoritative and indulgent had a significantly higher level of self-esteem than those who perceived their parents as authoritarian. In another study (Cakir & Aydin, 2005), it was found that adolescents with authoritative and permissive (indulgent) parents scored significantly higher on identity foreclosure than did those with neglectful parents. Overall, studies in Turkey seemed to provide further evidence of the positive role of authoritarian and indulgent parenting styles in the development of positive outcomes for adolescents, including learned resourcefulness as evidenced in the present study. Besides, based on our findings regarding the lack of significant differences between authoritative and neglectful parenting styles, it can be speculated that, without warmth and acceptance, control alone might not help adolescents develop learned resourcefulness.

In the present study, both the main effect for gender and the interaction of gender and parenting style effect were not found to be significant. These findings are also consistent with previous research both in Turkey (e.g., Dag, 1991) and abroad (Carey et al., 1990; Rosenbaum & Ben-Ari Samira, 1986; Zauszniewski et al., 2002) indicating no gender difference in learned resourcefulness.

In conclusion, results of the present study seem to provide evidence of the importance of parenting styles in adolescents' acquisition of basic cognitive and behavioral skills in order to self-regulate their internal responses as proposed by Rosenbaum's (1980) theory of learned resourcefulness. More specifically, the present study seemed to point out the role of authoritative and indulgent parenting styles in the enhancement of learned resourcefulness and the negative effect of authoritarian and neglectful parenting styles. However, more research is needed particularly regarding the effect of indulgent parenting styles on learned resourcefulness.

Finally, some limitations of the present study should be noted. First, the study was carried out with high school students in only one high school in Ankara, Turkey. Thus the results cannot be generalized to other high school students. Second, this study is restricted to self-report measures. Further research might also use observational data. Future studies might collect data directly from mothers and fathers in assessing both their parenting styles and their own learned resourcefulness levels in order to determine their roles in the development of adolescents' learned resourcefulness.


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Yilmaz, A. (2000). Esler arasindaki uyum ve cocugun algiladigt anne-baba tutumu ile cocuklarm, ergenlerin ve genclerin benlik algilan arasindaki iliskiler [Relationships of marital adjustment, child perception of parenting style, and children, adolescents and young adults academic achievement and self-perceptions]. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey.

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Please send reprint requests to Esin Tezer, Department of Educational Sciences, Faculty of Education, Middle East Technical University, 06531 Ankara/ Turkey. E-mail:

Yesim Deniz Turkel, Yenimahalle Alparsian High School, Ankara, Turkey.
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Author:Turkel, Yesim Deniz; Tezer, Esin
Geographic Code:7TURK
Date:Mar 22, 2008
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