Universal ingredients to parenting teens: parental warmth and autonomy support promote adolescent well-being in most families

Anne Bülow*, Andreas B. Neubauer, Bart Soenens, Savannah Boele, Jaap J.A. Denissen, Loes Keijsers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
19 Downloads (Pure)


Even though each adolescent is unique, some ingredients for development may still be universal. According to Self-Determination Theory, every adolescent’s well-being should benefit when parents provide warmth and autonomy. To rigorously test this idea that each family has similar mechanisms, we followed 159 Dutch parent-adolescent dyads (parent: Mage = 45.34, 79% mothers; adolescent: Mage = 13.31, 62% female) for more than three months, and collected 100 consecutive daily reports of parental warmth, autonomy support, positive and negative affect. Positive effects of parental warmth and autonomy support upon well-being were found in 91–98% of the families. Preregistered analysis of 14,546 daily reports confirmed that effects of parenting differed in strength (i.e., some adolescents benefited more than others), but were universal in their direction (i.e., in fewer than 1% of families effects were in an unexpected direction). Albeit stronger with child-reported parenting, similar patterns were found with parent-reports. Adolescents who benefited most from need-supportive parenting in daily life were characterized by higher overall sensitivity to environmental influences. Whereas recent work suggests that each child and each family have unique developmental mechanisms, this study suggests that need-supportive parenting promotes adolescent well-being in most families.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16836
Number of pages13
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a grant from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO-VIDI; 452-17-011) awarded to Loes Keijsers.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).


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