Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version

October 2004


Published in Journal of Youth and Adolescence, Vol. 33, No. 5, October 2004, pp. 389–401. Copyright © 2004 Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. Used by permission. DOI 10.1023/ Online @


Research suggests that perceived appropriateness of parental discipline plays a role in whether adolescents accept or reject parental messages, but little is known about how adolescents conceptualize or construct their ideas of appropriateness. One hundred twenty-two adolescents (M age = 16.87) answered questions about past situations (both antisocial and prosocial), how parents responded to these situations, the adolescent’s perceived appropriateness of the parent’s reaction, how the parent’s reaction made the adolescent feel, and what the adolescent thought the parent’s intentions were. Appropriateness ratings were related to the type of parental discipline used, with yelling associated with lower ratings of appropriateness and talking associated with higher ratings. Ratings were also related to adolescents’ emotions, with negative emotions associated with lower ratings of appropriateness and positive emotions associated with higher ratings. Lastly, ratings were related to adolescents’ perceptions of parental intent, with inhibiting and controlling intentions associated with lower ratings of appropriateness and caring and helping intentions associated with higher ratings.