British Journal of Developmental Psychology

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The relative contribution of parenting practices in predicting trait emotional intelligence in an Italian adolescent sample

This study examines the relationship between trait emotional intelligence (trait EI), support, and parental psychological control practices. Three hundred adolescents, between 11 and 13 years old, took part in the study (163 were males and 137 were females). Participants completed the Perceptions of Parents Scales for the parental support, the Dependency (DPC)‐ and Achievement (APC)‐oriented Psychological Control Scales for the parental psychological control, and the Trait Emotional Intelligence Questionnaire‐Child Form for the child's trait EI. Trait EI was related to parenting variables, and also, parental practices (both support and psychological control) predicted global trait EI in adolescents. Some gender‐specific differences were found: both APC and DPC were negative predictors of trait EI in males, whereas only APC significantly predicted trait EI in females. Future longitudinal studies are needed to examine these results and to shed light on the processes involved in the development of trait EI. Statement of contribution What is already known on the subject? There exists strong evidence of the interaction between parenting practices and emotional development in children and adolescents. Therefore, parental psychological control is negatively correlated with peer support and self‐esteem, and positively related to anxiety and aggressive behaviour in children. However, there is paucity on research examining the relationship between parenting and trait EI in children. What does this study adds? This study extends earlier work in this field and investigates whether there is a relationship between trait EI and parenting practices (parental support and psychological control) and whether it depends on child and parent gender. This study, therefore, aims to investigate, for the first time, parental factors that may, in addition to those constitutional, be related to trait EI in children. Specifically, the objective of the present study was to investigate whether parenting practices would predict adolescents’ trait EI and whether these relations depend on the gender.

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