Feeling disrespected by parents: Refining the measurement and understanding of psychological control

Brian K. Barber, Mingzhu Xia, Joseph A. Olsen, Clea A. McNeely, Krishna Bose

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigated parental psychological control of adolescents when construed as disrespect of individuality. First, 120 adolescents from 5 cultures were interviewed and asked to identify specific parental behaviors that communicated to them that they were disrespected as individuals. The interview data were coded and 8 new survey items were constructed to reflect key content. These items were then administered to 2100 adolescents in the same cultures along with a traditional measure of psychological control (PCS). Confirmatory factor analyses indicated that model fit was better when the two scales were kept separate, across culture and sex of parent. In structural equation models, the new scale - labeled Psychological Control - Disrespect - accounted for all and more of the variance in youth depression and antisocial behavior than the PCS did. The discussion centers on the validation the study makes of the construct and offers several suggestions for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)273-287
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Cross-cultural
  • Disrespect
  • Individuality
  • Parental control
  • Psychological control
  • Self-worth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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