Honors Theses


Jackson Goodnight, Ph.D.



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Honors Thesis


Prior research has suggested a link between self-esteem in children and adolescents and the parenting styles and behaviors of their parents. Research has identified dimensions of warmth, control, autonomy support, trust, flexibility, and demandingness as potential variables explaining this relationship. Existing literature has been limited by confounding variables such as genetic influences, home environment, race, culture, and socioeconomic status, as well as by a lack of longitudinal data. The current study uses a sibling comparison design to control for the influence of these genetic and environmental variables and allow for a more accurate estimate of the link between parenting and self-esteem. It uses data from the Children of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youths (CNLSY), which includes 11,545 biological offspring of women who participated in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, 1979 (NLSY79). The data on parenting styles and behaviors was taken from a survey of adolescents’ perceptions of parental involvement, autonomy, disharmony, and intimacy. Self-esteem was measured using the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. A significant association was found between intimacy and self-esteem scores in the population estimate; however, this association was not significant in the sibling-comparison model. Results suggest that links between self-esteem and parenting behaviors are confounded by background variables within families.

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Undergraduate research