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Parental Media Mediation in Adolescence: A Comparative Study of Parent and Adolescent Reports

Publication details

Year: 2019
DOI: 10.1080/08838151.2019.1680071
Issued: 2019
Language: English
Volume: 63
Issue: 4
Start Page: 716
End Page: 736
Authors: Beyens I.; Valkenburg P.
Type: Journal article
Journal: Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media
Topics: Social mediation; Researching children online: methodology and ethics
Sample: "Participants consisted of 868 adolescents (12 to 16 years) and their parents" (Beyens & Valkenburg, 2019, p. 721) "On average, participating adolescents were 14 years old (M = 13.86, SD = 1.41) and participating parents were 45 years old (M = 44.63, SD = 4.41). Half of the adolescents were girls (50.7%) and most parents were mothers (78.3%). Most parents reported their ethnicity as Dutch (97.5%). More than half of the parents had received secondary education (52.3%), 36.9% held a bachelor’s degree, 10.6% held a master’s or doctoral degree, and 0.2% had received primary education." (Beyens & Valkenburg, 2019, p. 721)


Whether studies should rely on parent or child reports of parental mediation remains a much-debated question. We investigated the agreement between parent and adolescent reports of the frequency and style (autonomy-supportive, controlling, inconsistent) of restrictive and active mediation, and their relative validity. Results revealed perceptual differences, with parents reporting more autonomy-supportive mediation. With some exceptions, both parent and adolescent reports correlated with relevant criterion measures. Results suggest that parent and adolescent reports are equally valid to assess the frequency and style of mediation, and that both reports should be considered to obtain a complete understanding of parents’ mediation efforts.


"We found that parent and adolescent reports of the frequency of mediation were moderately correlated at best. While the correlation between parent and adolescent reports of the frequency of restrictive mediation was moderate, other correlations were small. This suggests that there is relatively low agreement between parents and adolescents in their reporting of these mediation strategies" (Beyens & Valkenburg, 2019, p. 729) "Parents tended to report a higher frequency of both restrictive and active mediation than their children, a finding that is also consistent with prior studies (e.g., Gentile et al., 2012; Nikken & Jansz, 2006). Yet, the differences between the means of parent and adolescent reports of the frequency of mediation were small, as indicated by the small standardized mean differences (Cohen’s d = 0.14 and 0.46, respectively)" (Beyens & Valkenburg, 2019, p. 729) " Parents and adolescents agreed in their reporting of controlling restrictive mediation, with both reports averaging around “not true.” And although adolescents reported somewhat more controlling active and inconsistent restrictive mediation than their parents, the differences were small (Cohen’s d = − 0.08 and −0.26, respectively), with parent and adolescent reports both averaging around “not true.” Furthermore, both parents and adolescents identified an autonomy-supportive mediation style as the most prevalent one. " (Beyens & Valkenburg, 2019, p. 729) "However, parents reported significantly more autonomy-supportive restrictive and active mediation than their children (Cohen’s d = 0.83 and 1.05, respectively)." (Beyens & Valkenburg, 2019, p. 729) "We found that the correlations between the mediation reports and external criterion measures were highly similar for parents and adolescents. First, we found that parent and adolescent reports of the frequency of restrictive and active mediation were both correlated with demographic variables at a similar level and direction. In particular, both younger adolescents and their parents reported more mediation than older adolescents and their parents. In addition, both parent and adolescent reports were unrelated to parent education" (Beyens & Valkenburg, 2019, p. 731)

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