Volume 9 Issue 3 (2020)

Maternal and Paternal Authority Styles and Developmental Outcomes: An Investigation of University Students in Turkey and the United States

pp. 153-168  |  Published Online: September 2020  |  DOI: 10.22521/edupij.2020.93.3

Hamide Gozu, Joan Newman, and Kimberly Colvin


Using data from undergraduates in both Turkey and the United States, we examined cultural differences in the perceived parenting authority styles and the links between perceived parenting authority styles, academic achievement, and self-esteem. We also examined the separate contributions of fathers and mothers in each country. A total of 423 undergraduates (196 from Turkey and 227 from the US) completed the Buri Parent Authority Questionnaire to report on the parenting styles of their parents. They also reported on their own college GPA and completed the Rosenberg self-esteem measure. Some adjustment of the parenting scales was needed in order to achieve cross-cultural measurement invariance. Our study revealed that there were differences of parental style both between and within the two countries. Fathers were reported to be more authoritarian than mothers, and mothers to be more authoritative. Higher levels of authoritarian parenting by fathers was found in the American data. Some parental authority measures were associated with the students’ self-esteem, and all of these involved paternal authority. Paternal authoritarian parenting was negatively associated with the students’ self-esteem in the Turkish data, with paternal authoritative parenting positively associated with the self-esteem of the American students only. The study’s findings suggest that researchers should not ignore differences in parental authority style between mothers and fathers, nor differences between different countries. In particular, the role of fathers should not be overlooked.

Keywords: Parenting styles, cross-cultural, academic achievement, self-esteem, mother-father difference


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