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Parental conditional regard (PCR) involves parents providing or withdrawing affection to motivate children to do what the parents want. Numerous studies have demonstrated that PCR has harmful consequences for children. The present research examines associations between PCR and children’s later relationships with young-adult peers. We conducted two cross-sectional studies (Study 1: 118 participants, 73 women; Study 2: 120 participants, 89 women). Study 3 involved collecting data from both members of a romantic heterosexual dyad (109 couples). Study 4 involved participants interacting with a neutral accomplice (73 participants, 56 women). We found support for several mediators of the association between PCR and young-adults’ relationship quality: psychological need satisfaction (Studies 1 and 2), and projection of one’s own conditional regard onto a partner (Studies 3 and 4). Although longitudinal data are needed to establish causality, these findings suggest that exposure to PCR is negatively associated with adult-children’s peer relationship quality, and offers clues for disrupting this inimical association.


Institute for Positive Psychology and Education

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Journal Article

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