Parenting and Self-Control Across Early to Late Adolescence: A Three-Level Meta-Analysis

Jian Bin Li*, Yayouk E. Willems, F. Marijn Stok, Maja Deković, Meike Bartels, Catrin Finkenauer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Self-control plays a significant role in positive youth development. Although numerous self-control challenges occur during adolescence, some adolescents control themselves better than others. Parenting is considered a critical factor that distinguishes adolescents with good self-control from those with poor self-control, but existing findings are inconsistent. This meta-analysis summarizes the overall relationship between parenting and self-control among adolescents aged 10 to 22 years. The analysis includes 191 articles reporting 1,540 effect sizes (N = 164,459). The results show that parenting is associated with adolescents’ self-control both concurrently (r =.204, p <.001) and longitudinally (r =.157, p <.001). Longitudinal studies also reveal that adolescents’ self-control influences subsequent parenting (r =.155, p <.001). Moderator analyses show that the effect sizes are largely invariant across cultures, ethnicities, age of adolescents, and parent and youth gender. Our results point to the importance of parenting in individual differences in adolescent self-control and vice versa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)967-1005
Number of pages39
JournalPerspectives on Psychological Science
Issue number6
Early online date6 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019


  • adolescence
  • meta-analysis
  • parenting
  • parent–child relationship
  • self-control


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