How parental autonomy support prevent from adolescents’ depression and low self-esteem: a mediational model with trait Emotional Intelligence

Nadia Barberis, Maria Cristina Gugliandolo, Sebastiano Costa, Francesca Liga


Objective: The main aim of this study was to deepen the literature about parental autonomy support, analysing the relation between its two dimensions, Promotion of Independence (PI) and Promotion of Volitional Functioning (PVF), and adaptive outcomes in adolescents. Specifically, it was hypothesized that both components would predict higher self-esteem and lower depression in adolescents, through the mediation of trait Emotional Intelligence (trait EI).

Method: A total of 283 adolescents, aged between 14 and 17 years (M=15.53; SD=1.21), participated in this study. They completed the Center for Epidemiologic Studies- Depression Scale (CES-D), the Promotion of Independence (PI) and Promotion of Volitional Functioning (PVF), the Rosenberg Self-Esteem and Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire- Adolescent Short Form (TEIQue-ASF).

Results: It was found that parental autonomy support predicted trait EI, which in turn fully mediated the relation between supportive practices and psychological outcomes in adolescents, with several interesting parent gender differences.

Conclusions: This study highlights how autonomy-supportive practices are fundamental for healthy and adequate development of emotional intelligence in adolescents. It also contributes to the advancement of research on the contextual and individual mechanisms underlying the functional adaptation of offspring.


Parental Autonomy Support; Trait EI; Adolescence; Depression; Clinical Psychology.

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