"A Longitudinal Study of How Autonomy Supportive Parenting Relates to Motivation, Coping, and Well-Being Across the Transition to College"
I came into senior year with a strong interest in how personality psychology, in particular narrative identity, can inform our understanding of human behavior. I was able to develop this interest while working on my thesis with Professor Lilgendahl, a professor whom I have taken classes with in the past and admire greatly. My thesis explored how parenting relates to well-being among college students, an incredibly interesting topic in itself given its recent popularity in mainstream media and academia alike.
Autonomy supportive parenting and parental involvement are associated with many positive life outcomes. On the basis of self-determination theory (SDT), our longitudinal study examined how students’ perceptions of parenting related to well-being across the transition to college. We also explored how academic high point and low point narratives mediated this process through the respective mechanisms of motivation and coping. Our main sample consisted of N = 375 students from the Identity Pathways Project who took part in four waves of data collection (summer before freshman year to fall of sophomore year). We found that students who perceived their parents to be less autonomy supportive and more involved decreased significantly in well-being across the four waves. While neither motivation nor coping mediated this relationship, adaptive coping themes were associated with higher well-being. Finally, our data indicate that autonomy supportive parenting is cross-culturally important for well-being, as suggested by SDT.