Perceived parental care and control among Israeli female adolescents presenting to emergency rooms after self-poisoning

Gary M Diamond, Hila Didner, Ariela Waniel, Beatriz Priel, Jack Asherov, Shosh Arbel
Adolescence 2005, 40 (158): 257-72
Levels of perceived parental care and control among 24 female Israeli adolescents presenting at emergency rooms after a self-poisoning act of low lethality were compared to those found among 23 non-self-harming, community controls. Adolescents' perceived levels of parental care and control were measured via both adolescents' self-report and independent objective ratings of adolescents' unconstrained descriptions of their parents. Adolescents also completed a standardized psychological symptom checklist. Data from both measurement perspectives indicated that adolescents evidencing self-poisoning behavior perceived their mothers as less caring and more controlling--a parenting style characterized as "affectionless control"--than did the comparison group. Independent ratings of adolescents' descriptions of their parents suggested that those exhibiting self-poisoning also perceived their fathers as less caring. These effects were not moderated by level of psychological symptoms. The findings are consistent with those from previous research showing an association between perceived parental care and control and various self-harming behaviors among adolescents, and highlight the need for research on the potential clinical utility of employing family-based, attachment-promoting psychosocial interventions with this population.

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