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Byline: Khalida Rauf and Junaid Ahmed


The purpose of the present study was to demonstrate the predictive relationship between authoritarian parenting style and academic performance in school students. The sample of 100 school students (50 male and 50 female) with an age range 9 to 17 years with mean age of 14.6 (+-SD= 3.69) were recruited from various educational institutions of Karachi, Pakistan. The Authoritarian Parenting Style was assessed through subscale of Parental Authority Questionnaire (PAQ; Buri, 1991) whereas he Academic performance was assessed through last class achieved grade point. The Linear Regression analysis was employed for statistical analysis of the data. Results reveal authoritarian parenting style as a significant predictor of academic performance in school students. The authoritarian parenting style accounted for 38% variance in scores of academic performance. The implications and avenues for future studies are discussed.

Keywords: Authoritarian Parenting, Academic Performance, Students, School


Parenting style is a major factor which plays an important role in development of individual's personality (Baldwin, Mclntyre, and Hardaway, 2007) and is considered to influence different aspects of children's outcomes ranging from academic achievement, externalizing behavior problems, optimism, motivation, confidence, and attention problems (Gadeyne, Ghesquiere, and Onghena, 2004). It has been seen that parenting styles are different and these vary from individual to individual and is also specific to particular society; culture and locality in which the person is reared.

Baumrind (1991) presented four parenting styles each with a different emphasis on responsiveness and demandingness: First, indulgent parents who are defined as permissive or non-directive. Their valence is more toward permissiveness rather than demandingness. Second, authoritarian parent who are defined as highly demanding and equally high in directive but lower on responsiveness. Third, authoritative parent who are defined as both responsive and demanding. They set clear standards and equally assertive and non-intrusive. Fourth, uninvolved parents who are defined as low in both demandingness and responsiveness. Parenting styles have also been described as a three-category structure, i.e. authoritarian, authoritative, and permissive parenting styles (Dornbusch, Ritter, Leiderman, Robert, and Fraleigh 1997).

According to Maccoby and Martin (1983), authoritative parenting is manifested by patterns of warmth, non-harsh behavior, and also uniformity was found in children daily living and adaptive behavior which help them to adjustment. Authoritarian style is manifested by patterns of less warmth, harsh behavior of discipline, and no uniformity. Permissive styles, marked by low levels of look after and supervision.

Several studies have been conducted on various outcomes of different parenting styles. Researches have proved that authoritative parenting foster secure attachments between children and parents or caregiver. In future, it contributes to good sense of autonomy among children (Karavasilis, Doyle, and Markiewicz, 2003). A meta-Analysis was done on children's academic performance as the outcome of parental involvement. It has been demonstrated that parental involvement has positive influence on children's academic performance and it helps them to solve different problems in academics. Further, it is revealed that parental involvement serves aspiring and encouraging function and shows strong positive correlation with child's academic performance. (Fan and Chen, 2001). It has been revealed that parents who monitor their children's homework in authoritarian style, it inhibits the children's performance in academics and in school (Darling and Steinberg, 1993).

Further, studies depicted that those children who have been raised in supportive, cooperative environment performed well in their academics than those children who have been raised in harsh, strict, punishing, neglecting parenting, at the same time some individual differences were also found (Changalwa, Ndurumo, Barasa, and Poipoi, 2012; Munyi, 2011; Robert and Fraleigh, 1997). Gonzalez, Holbein, and Quilter (2002) found that parenting styles impact children's adjustment in academics and that authoritative parenting fosters well-being in adolescents' learning goals. Masud, Ramayah, and Ahmad (2015) demonstrated that authoritative parenting style to be associated with enhanced academic performance. A review by Spera (2005) of relationship among parenting styles and academic performance indicates that the parenting styles play major role in child's academic performance.

Review showed that authoritative parenting style has strong positive correlation with academic performance than rest of parenting styles. This review shows that it is not necessary that in all societies, cultures and ethnic groups authoritative parenting style has positive relationship with academic performance. In some societies and ethnic groups authoritarian parenting style is also reported to have positive relation with academic performance.

Culture has been reported to play a role in the relationship between parenting styles and adolescent performance. The culture determines the type of parenting style adopted by parents. The primary cultural difference lies between interdependence and independence. The Caucasian culture is independent and encourages expression, freedom and self-reliance. On the other hand Asian culture encourages interdependence, group cohesion, and social hierarchy (Wang and Leichtman, 2000). In Western culture, parents are more likely authoritative whereas in Asian culture, parents are more likely authoritarian with children (Chao, 2001; Dornbusch, Ritter, Leiderman, and Robert, 1987; Sue and Abe, 1995).

Researchers examined the influence of parenting styles on children's academic performance in both Western and Eastern countries and demonstrated considerable difference. It has been shown that in Caucasian culture, authoritative parenting style is associate with positive academic outcomes as compared to authoritarian and permissive (e.g., Abar, Carter and Winsler, 2009; Juang and Silbereisen, 1999). Nonetheless, researches have demonstrated that in Asian culture, the authoritarian parenting styles to be associated with positive outcomes (Chao, 1994; Chao, 2001; Dornbusch, Ritter, Leiderman, and Robert, 1987; Sue and Abe, 1995). Some other follow-up studies showed same result to validate the previous studies. It has been proved that cultural and societal differences matter in parenting styles and academic performance of children (Steinberg, 1992).

Regarding gender difference, Steinberg, Eisengart and Caufman (2006) discovered no gender differences in juvenile sample with regard to parenting style and child outcome. The findings of the study by Khan, Ahmed, Hamdan, and Mustufa (2014) demonstrated that gender, ethnicity and educational encouragement explained 30.8% of variance in academic performance was explained by gender, ethnicity and educational encouragement.

In a nutshell, many studies have been conducted in different Western and Asian countries on the relationship between parenting styles and academic performance in children. However there is dearth of such studies in Pakistani culture, especially on Authoritarian parenting style which is commonly used parenting style in Pakistan. Hence, this study is an attempt to fill in this gap by investigating the predictive relationship between authoritarian parenting and academic performance. This findings obtain would help to understand the role of authoritarian parenting style, a commonly reported style in Asian cultures, in influencing children academic performance.

Keeping the above literature in mind the following hypothesis was framed.

1. There would be a predictive association between authoritarian parenting styles and academic performance in school students.



Convenient sampling method was used to collect data. The sample consisted of 100 students (50 male and 50 female) recruited from different educational institutions of Karachi, Pakistan. They were students of grade 5 to grade 9. The age range of the sample was from 9 to 17 years with mean age of 14.6 (+-SD=3.69). Demographic characteristics are described in Table 1.


Demographic Form

Demographic Form was designed to collect demographic information about participants such as age, gender, grade, last achieved percentage.

Parental Authority Questionnaire

The Parental Authority Questionnaire (PAQ; Buri, 1991) assesses perception of adolescents about mother and father's parental style. The PAQ consists of 30-items divided into three subscales: authoritative parenting style, authoritarian parenting style and permissive parenting style. Each sub-scale consists of 10 items. In the present study, only Authoritarian Parenting Style of PAQ was used to assess authoritarian parenting. The Reponses are rated on 5-point Likert Scale ranging from '1= Strongly Agree' to '5 =Strongly Disagree'. The PAQ is measured twice, once for father and once for mother. The overall score for parents is generated by summing up two separate scores and then dividing by two. The PAQ is demonstrated to be psychometrically sound and reliable measure. The Cronbach's alpha for father's authoritarian style and mother's authoritarian style was reported to be .86 and .85 respectively.

Academic Performance

The Academic Performance in the present study was assessed through last class achieved grade point.


The parents, teachers, and guardians were approached and briefly informed about the nature of research and assured of confidentiality of the data and their children's right to withdraw participation. After taking formal consent from participants' guardian and authority figure, students were approached. They were also explained that they have full right to withdraw their participation from the research at any time at any point. They were administered PAQ along with Demographic Information sheet. They were thanked for their time and cooperation at the end.

Scoring and Statistical Analysis

After the collection of all data, the scoring of the research measures was done and statistical analysis was carried out through Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPPS, Version. 21). The linear regression analysis was employed to test the prediction hypothesis. Descriptive statistics is also employed.


Table 1 Descriptive Statistics for Demographic Characteristics of Participants (N=100)




Educational Level

###Grade 5###40###40

###Grade 6###25###25

###Grade 7###18###18

###Grade 8###10###10

###Grade 9###7###7



Table 2 Summary of Linear Regression Analysis with Authoritarian Parenting Style as predictors of Academic Performance in School Students (N= 100)

###Predictors###R###R2###Adjusted R2###F###df###Sig.


###Parenting Style

Table 3 Coefficients Summary of Linear Regression Analysis with Authoritarian Parenting Style as predictors of Academic Performance in School Students (N= 100)







Parenting Style


Key findings obtained in the present research are as followed. The results of linear regression analysis (Table 2 and 3) reveals that authoritarian parenting style is a significant predictor of academic performance. The authoritarian parenting style accounted for 38% variance in the scores of academic performance (Table 2). Further, the direction of relationship between authoritarian parenting style and academic performance is negative ([beta]= -.71; Table 3); hence indicating that authoritarian parenting style negatively affects academic performance.

These findings are in line with previous researches done in European and American settings which have indicated authoritarian parenting style to be associated with lowered academic performance (e.g., Abar, Carter and Winsler, 2009; Juang and Silbereisen, 1999; Masud, Ramayah, and Ahmad, 2015). Thus, our findings contradict the prevailing assumption about Asian countries that due to socio-cultural factors the corporal punishment is not considered a bad thing and a harsh parenting style is usually favored hence, is positively related to academic outcomes. Authoritarian parenting style is demonstrated to have negative consequences for children's academic performance as overly strict and demanding attitude undermines level of achievement. The firm and supportive parenting practices are associated with academic success (Zahedani, Rezaee, Yazdani, Bagheri, and Nabeiei, 2016).

In contrast domination and power practice which are sole characteristics of the authoritarian parenting demands children to strictly follow rule and regulation and their decisions. Often they take decisions without taking into consideration children's passion, ability or choice. Hence, at time over demandingness and harsh style undermines children confidence and thwarts their self-esteem which in turn may negatively influence their academic performance. However, these result warrant further investigation to draw more conclusive inferences.

To sum up, authoritarian parenting style significantly hampers the educational functioning of children. Therefore it should be avoided as a parenting strategy. Cultural differences are also operating in this regard. There is a dire need for taking steps to increase awareness regarding parenting styles adopted by parents and their consequential impact on various outcomes in children. The parents should be educated the negative consequences of authoritarian parenting style as a parenting strategy. The study has few limitations which would restrict the generalization of the study results. First, the sample size was small and only included school students; in future researches a larger sample with different age cohorts and different educational levels should be used to increase the generalizability of the results. Secondly, There is possibility that parenting style may interact with other variables to influence academic outcome.

Hence, other mediator and moderator variables like parent's education, socioeconomic status, students' intelligence level, self-image, self-efficacy, motivation, learning goals etc. may also be studied in relation to the variables of interest to the present study.


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Article Details
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Publication:Pakistan Journal of Psychology
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Dec 31, 2017

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