The aim of Pinquart’s and Silbereisen’s study presented in the article “Transmission of Values from Adolescents to Their Parents: The Role of Value Content and Authoritative Parenting” is to look at the parent-adolescent relations and to analyze how the valuable content and authoritative parenting influence the transmission process. The introductory part of the article contains information about the past researches and studied. In particular, Pinquart notes that the “study of Looker and Pineo found no significant associations between the values of adolescents and their parents” (2004). Despite the numerous studies conducted on this topic, it remains an open question whether observed associations were due to the parental influences on their children or vice versa, or even external socialization forces (Pinquart 2004).
The present research is supposed to answer this question and to add the results of the study to already existing information on the issue. According to the results of previous studies, it is known that parental conservatism predicts adolescent attitude change, but not the other way around. Besides, the role of the authoritarian parenting was not investigated yet. The study hypothesis is that intergenerational transmission of values is more likely in families with a high level of authoritative parenting and that the content of the benefits influences the transmission process (the difference in value’s importance perception by parents and their children).
Data was obtained based on the stratified random sampling procedure on more than 70 schools in West Berlin. Both “students and their parents completed questionnaires, and the resulting sample was representative concerning socioeconomic status, school track, sex, and nationality” (Pinquart 2004). In general, 431 mother-child dyads and 346 father-child dyads were studies. Thus, the sampling procedure was random, and there is no information whether any subjects excluded from participation.
The following variables were used: the importance of belief in God, the usefulness of technological innovation for humankind, belief regarding traditional social arrangements, belief regarding the need for national safety, belief regarding the importance of work. Both parents and children were asked to provide their opinion using a four-point Likert scale (1=strongly disagree … 4=strongly agree). In addition, parents were invited in indicate whether all family members have a say in family decisions, the degree of support they provide for their children, whether they are interested in the opinion of their children, whether they discuss important issues with their children, and whether they know whereabouts of their children at all times. Moreover, parents and adolescents were asked whether they believed that their child/parent could convince them to change their opinion. Therefore, the method used to collect information was many questionnaires.
At first, the difference between parents and adolescents in their mean levels of agreement with value statements as well as correlations between parents’ and adolescents’ values were analyzed. “Bonferroni adjustment was performed because of an inflated error rate resulting from the use of multiple tests” (Pinquart 2004). The significant correlation was found with regards to the importance of God and the national defense values. Interestingly, the positive relationship was found between the mothers’ and adolescents’ perception of the usefulness of the new technology.
The value transmission hypothesis could not be tested because of the correlational data from one measurement point. It was found out that the parental values predict the residual change of adolescents. The hypothesis was also proved for the opposite direction of value transmission (from adolescents to parents). For each benefit, the separate analyses were conducted using LISREL 8.02. Beliefs supported the hypothesis regarding the use of technological innovation, the importance of religion and strong national defense. Also, the study revealed that adolescents were not willing to discuss issues related to work and national security with parents and thus the transmission of these values was relatively low. The study results did not prove the hypothesis that there is a significant transmission of adolescents’ benefits to their parents in families with above-average levels of authoritative parenting.
The major conclusion made based on the study results is that “transmission of adolescents’ values with regard to the importance of belief in God, the usefulness of technological innovations, and beliefs regard to the importance of belief in God (in the families with above-average authoritative parenting only), but not with regard to the need for a strong national defense and the importance of work” (Pinquart 2004). Also, authors concluded that adolescents were more likely to transmit their values to parents in families with above-average levels of authoritative parenting. As it was stated in introductory part of the article, this particular study is the continuation of the previous researchers and adds essential aspects to the topic.
Discussion flows logically and is relevant to the research topic, meets the study objectives and draws conclusions on the significant findings. Moreover, their separate section is devoted to limitations of the study. In particular, withers note that they were not able to assess the salience of the values as well as the motivation of both parents and adolescents to influence each other. Moreover, the test whether the strength of the intergenerational transmission of values changes across the time was not done.
Authors suggest that the further research should “assess the mutual influence of parents and children longitudinally rather than interpreting the correlational similarities between parents and children mainly as indicating parental value socialization” (Pinquart 2004). Moreover, the “analysis was restricted to five value domains and 11-17 year-olds and their parents; more research should be done on the identification of windows of opportunity for influencing parents in other domains and by adolescents in different age ranges” (Pinquart 2004).
In my personal opinion, the current research is not only exciting but is also highly informative. The results obtained in the course of data analysis can be applied in psychology, social studies, philosophies and other disciplines. Authors have the area for research which has not been studied enough and have contributed to the existing information on the issue. Despite the several limitations, the hypothesis is well-researched and validated.
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