Psychological control ● Parents ● Adolescents ● Trajectories


Theory and research indicate considerable changes in parental control across adolescence (e.g., declining behavioral control), but the developmental course and significance of psychological control remains largely unknown. This study examined trajectories of adolescents’ reports of mothers’ and fathers’ psychological control from ages 12 to 19, predictors of occupying distinct trajectories, and the developmental significance of these trajectories for adolescents’ development of depressive and anxiety symptoms. It used eight waves of survey data on 500 adolescents (Mage = 11.83, SD = 1.03; 52% female; 67% White, 12% African American) and their parents from the Pacific Northwest United States. Most adolescents (about 90%) reported low but increasing levels of parental psychological control over time, with a small but significant subset (about 10%) perceiving perpetually elevated levels. Mothers’ (but not fathers’) depressive symptoms, reported at the age 12 assessment, predicted adolescents’ membership in the elevated psychological control trajectory. Adolescents occupying these elevated trajectories showed more problematic growth in depressive and anxiety symptoms across adolescence. Taken together, the findings suggest that many adolescents experience increased parental psychological control as they age, and that variability in these trends indicates individual differences in their development of depressive and anxiety symptoms over time.

Original Publication Citation

Rogers, A. A., Padilla-Walker, L. M., *McLean, R., & *Hurst, J. (2020). Trajectories of perceived parental psychological control across adolescence and implications for the development of depressive and anxiety symptoms. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 49, 136-149.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Journal of Youth and Adolescence




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor