You are on page 1of 7

10.

1177/0022022103255650
JOURNAL
Rohner, Khaleque
OF CROSS-CULTURAL
/ PARENTAL CONTROL
PSYCHOLOGY
SCALE ARTICLE

RELIABILITY AND VALIDITY OF THE PARENTAL CONTROL SCALE
A Meta-Analysis of Cross-Cultural and Intracultural Studies

RONALD P. ROHNER
ABDUL KHALEQUE
University of Connecticut

Meta-analytic procedures from 11 cross-cultural and intracultural studies (26 effect sizes) along with factor
analyses of data from five samples were used to assess the reliability and validity of the Parental Control
Scale (PCS). The PCS is a 13-item self-report questionnaire assessing children’s and adults’ perceptions of
the behavioral control they experience(d) as children (or control administered to children by their parents).
Results of analyses support the conclusion that the PCS is a reliable and valid measure for cross-cultural
research purposes, including among American ethnic groups.

Keywords: parental control; behavioral control; meta-analysis

The history of interest in parental control is strewn with an array of often ill-defined and
poorly operationalized concepts. Relevant concepts often found in the literature include
strict, controlling, authoritarian, dominating, coercive, restrictive, regimenting, intrusive,
interfering, demanding, and power assertion. At the other end of the control dimension lie
terms such as autonomy granting, permissive, indulgent, egalitarian, democratic, and laissez-
faire. Investigators have often defined and measured these terms in inconsistent ways
(Grolnick, 2003). Not surprisingly, research using these concepts has yielded mixed and
sometimes inconsistent results.
Today, however, most socialization researchers appear to agree that behavioral control
refers to the attempts made by parents to regulate, manipulate, or manage their children’s
behavior (Barber, 1996). In effect, behavioral control has to do with the demands, directives,
prescriptions (you shall), and proscriptions (you shall not) that parents place on children’s
behavior. The concept of behavioral control also involves the extent to which parents insist
on compliance with their demands, directives, rules, prescriptions, and proscriptions.
Behavioral control does not, however, imply anything specific about the manner in which
parents attempt to enforce their rules. In this brief article, we focus on evidence regarding the
psychometric characteristics of one promising measure of behavioral control used by par-
ents. This measure—the Parental Control Scale (PCS)—is widely used in cross-cultural
research, but until now its reliability and validity have not been assessed.

PCS

The PCS (Rohner, 1989) is a 13-item self-report measure assessing individuals’ percep-
tions of the behavioral control (i.e., parental permissiveness or strictness) they now experi-
ence as children (child version), experienced earlier in childhood (adult version), or now

JOURNAL OF CROSS-CULTURAL PSYCHOLOGY, Vol. 34 No. 6, November 2003 643-649
DOI: 10.1177/0022022103255650
© 2003 Western Washington University

643

Downloaded from jcc.sagepub.com at UNIV TORONTO on March 7, 2015

they allow their offspring to regulate their own activities to the greatest extent possible. as theoretically expected. strict/restrictive control. and Korean Americans). maximum permissiveness) to a high of 52 (maximum or restrictive behavioral control). Results of fac- tor analyses revealed virtually identical factor structures across the five culturally distinct populations. however. Downloaded from jcc. In addition. the scale is available in more than nine languages. This version is not discussed here because it is only newly developed. A fourth version of the PCS contains only eight items. Scores in the firm control range signify that parents usually try to control the youth’s behavior. synthesizing. and summariz- ing findings from the broad array of international studies now completed.com at UNIV TORONTO on March 7. a measure of the internal consistency (reli- ability) of the parental control scale. Restrictive parents demand strict. online searches were conducted on ten other databases. we focus primarily on a meta-analysis of studies that provide appropriate data for computing coefficient alpha. firm control. In this article. insisting on compliance with parental wishes in some contexts but allowing youth considerable latitude in regulating their own activities in other contexts. These parents are very demanding and directive—although not unyielding—of their children’s behavior. parents are flexible in their control. Since the time of its original development. except for minor differences such as the verb tense used. Items in all versions of the PCS are scored on a 4-point Likert-type scale ranging from 4 (almost always true) to 1 (almost never true). the two factors define the poles of the behavioral control dimension.644 JOURNAL OF CROSS-CULTURAL PSYCHOLOGY enforce on their children (parent version). Scores on all but the infant version spread from a low of 13 (minimum behavioral control. unyielding obedience. appro- priate data are also available from five studies included in the meta-analysis to compare factor structures internationally (in Pakistan and Turkey) and among three American ethnic groups (African Americans. and total compliance with parental directives. 27 to 39. moderate control.sagepub. 2015 . We place heaviest emphasis on that statistic because it is the only psychometric measure computed often enough by cross-cultural researchers to pro- vide the quantity of empirical evidence needed for integrating. Rather. the PCS has been used in dozens of studies within every major ethnic group in the United States—including among European Ameri- cans—and in many studies internationally. 40 to 45. It is designed to be used by parents when they reflect on their behavior toward their infants (infant version). The principal one was the online bibliography of the Rohner Center for the Study of Parental Acceptance and Rejection at the University of Connecticut (Rohner. 2003). we conducted a literature search of studies from 1989 (the year the scale was created) through May 2002. Currently. That is. All three versions are identical. and 46 to 52. Several sources were used to locate studies. Scores in the moderate control range signify that parents sometimes try to control the youth’s behavior. The PCS was conceptually designed in such a way that scores from 13 to 26 indicate low/lax control (permissiveness). However. In effect. The first was a parental strictness factor and the second was a parental permissiveness factor. That is. scores in the low/lax control range signify that parents rarely try to control the youth’s behavior. two correlated factors emerged in each sam- ple. Finally. scores in the strict/restrictive range signify that parents almost always try to control the youth’s behavior. Together. META-ANALYTIC METHOD To locate relevant data for the meta-analysis. European Americans. i.e..

Among these persons. Among the 26 effect sizes. 1. respondents to the adult and parent versions of the PCS ranged in age from 19 to 89 years.. Studies included in the meta-analysis are listed in the appendix. 10 employed the adult version (mother. Alpha coefficients were adjusted in proportion to sample size in order to examine the impact of sample size on the coefficients. Moreover. 5). 216 from Europe. 5). 275. 1982). to address the problem of potential bias favoring results in published versus unpublished research. the com- putational method appropriate for aggregating the r family effect sizes (Rosenthal. META-ANALYTIC PROCEDURES Because the alpha coefficient is based on Pearson’s product moment correlation. Rohner. The studies included an aggregated sample of 4. Alpha coefficients in these studies ranged from a minimum value of . Asian American. We also computed aggregate means of unweighted and weighted alpha coefficients for all studies included in the sample. the sample included 1. Results of all these tests are discussed next. father. 7. Unpublished studies were sought along with published ones because published studies often appear to be biased in favor of significant results (Kraemer & Andrews. Downloaded from jcc. we then computed the weighted means using the Z-transformation method.. 1). Khaleque / PARENTAL CONTROL SCALE 645 SELECTION OF STUDIES The meta-analysis included empirical studies that measured alpha coefficients of the dif- ferent versions of the PCS described earlier. we computed the fail-safe N test recommended by Cooper (1979) and Rosenthal (1979).49 to a maximum value of . All alphas were positive and statis- tically significant (p < . as recommended by Rosenthal (1994).762 were from the United States (African American. 8 were unpublished and 3 were published.sagepub. Of these 11 studies. 12 employed the child version of the PCS (mother. 2015 . and 308 from the West Indies. 1928) as suggested by Rosenthal (1994).001). the overall alpha coefficient) aggregated across all versions of the PCS and across all samples was . the meta-analysis was computed on 26 effect sizes of the alpha coef- ficients reported in 11 studies conducted between 1990 and 2002. Following the recommendation of Hedges and Olkin (1985). father. 5.e. 478. RESULTS Results of the meta-analysis show that the weighted mean effect size (i.203 respon- dents. 519). 490. DESCRIPTION OF STUDIES As shown in Table 1. father. Respondents to the child version of the PCS ranged in age from 7 through 19 years. 1994) was used. 3. and European American.917 respondents from Asia. we used Fisher’s Z-transformation method (Fisher.73. However. Cross-culturally. European American. Asian American.91. because Hedges and Olkin (1985) showed that effect sizes may be meaningfully aggregated across studies only if the studies are homoge- neous (i. if they share a common population) we performed heterogeneity tests to identify possible outliers. and 4 employed the parent version (mother.com at UNIV TORONTO on March 7.e. mixed ethnicity including African American. To address the problem of skewness of higher values of alpha coefficients (in rela- tion to lower values).

F = father.69* Rohner 1995 (u) 127 8-19 North America EA X .com at UNIV TORONTO on March 7.71* Varan 2002 (u) 415 34 18-70 Turkey — X .68* Rohner 1995 (u) 121 8-18 North America AfA X . and Cournoyer 1991 (p) 308 13 7-18 W.66* Sethi 2002 (u) 108 20 17-28 Ukraine — X . AsA = Asian American.63* Varan 2002 (u) 356 12 8-17 Turkey — X . . EA = European American.74* Riaz and Khan 2002 (u) 100 55 50-65 Pakistan — X . AfA = African American. Kean.58* Stern 1998 (u) 81 8-13 North America EA X .81* Riaz and Khan 2002 (u) 100 13 10-16 Pakistan — X .50* Sethi 2002 (u) 108 20 17-28 Ukraine — X .71* Rising 1999 (u) 102 44 30-89 North America Mixed X .60* Riaz and Khan 2002 (u) 100 49 45-48 Pakistan — X . Mixed = majority European American.80* Rohner 1995 (u) 154 8-18 North America AfA X . 2015 Khaleque 2001 (u) 114 22 19-43 North America Mixed X .70* Stern 1998 (u) 81 8-13 North America EA X . and/or Hispanic American. p = published. Indies — X .81* Kim and Rohner 2002 (p) 245 14 11-18 North America AsA X .77* Rohner and Brothers 1999 (p) 35 North America EA X .75* Rohner 1995 (u) 119 8-19 North America EA X .64* Rising 1999 (u) 102 44 30-89 North America Mixed X .88* Khaleque 2001 (u) 110 22 19-43 North America Mixed X . Asian American.76* NOTE: M = mother.89* Kim and Rohner 2002 (p) 245 14 11-18 North America AsA X .62* Downloaded from jcc.80* Rohner and Brothers 1999 (p) 35 North America EA X . u = unpublished. minority African American.sagepub.48* Riaz and Khan 2002 (u) 100 13 10-16 Pakistan — X . TABLE 1 646 Summary of Studies Included in the Meta-Analysis of Alpha Coefficients of the Parental Control Scale Parental Control Age Child Adult Parent Study Year n M Range Geographic Location Ethnic (USA) M F M F M F Effect Size (α) Jordan 1990 (u) 91 24-53 North America Mixed X .91* Rohner.70* Varan 2002 (u) 354 12 8-17 Turkey — X .81* Varan 2002 (u) 392 34 18-70 Turkey — X .

Specifically. Finally.78 and . for European Americans they were . and . It is possible. Rohner.e.55. respectively. for North America they were .80 criterion sometimes recommended not only for basic research but for stud- ies in clinical and applied settings where individuals’ lives may be directly affected by action taken on test results (Cournoyer & Klein.77) for studies with sample sizes above the median of all PCS studies (median N = 109) was not appreciably larger than the mean effect size (α = . and .76).359 studies—all with nonsignificant results—would be needed to accept the conclusion that the effect sizes (i. however. the mean effect size (α = .. Effect sizes (alpha coefficients) of individual studies in the meta-analysis spread from . 1986) showed that an additional 2.73. Other effect sizes approach or exceed the . Moreover. .70 and . respectively. fail-safe N test results (Wolf.77.com at UNIV TORONTO on March 7. weighted mean effect sizes for the three versions were . respectively.79 and . None- theless. Grouping the effect sizes by American ethnic group and by geographic region of the world (aggregated across the various versions of the PCS) showed similar results.77. the unweighted and weighted mean effect sizes for African Americans were both .78 and . adult. and for multiethnic group- ings they were .69. we should note that the mean effect size for published studies using all versions of the PCS (α = .70. 2015 .78. with an overall weighted mean effect size of . Regarding geographic variations. respectively.80) was only marginally higher than the mean effect size for unpublished stud- ies (α = .71) of studies with sample sizes below the median.71. and parent versions were . one may conclude that the studies included in this sample provide a common or homogeneous estimate of the population effect size of the PCS.. unweighted and weighted effect sizes for Asia were .91. Kitts). Because the heterogeneity test revealed no sig- nificant heterogeneity among studies and no outliers. It is also important to point out that meta-analyses of all three versions of the PCS each aggregated across the full range of sociocultural groups represented in the samples were acceptably high—although both the unweighted and weighted mean effect sizes of the par- ent PCS were marginally below the recommended criterion of . It is not entirely clear why these alphas are marginally below the commonly accepted criterion.70 level often recom- mended as the criterion for an acceptable reliability estimate for multi-item measures used in basic research (Cournoyer & Klein. Similarly.66.77. It is unclear why the effect sizes for the Ukraine were so low. or that these results were due to sampling bias.and eight-year- olds) in the sample tended to skew the alphas slightly downward. except that we believe there may have been a problem with the translation of the Russian dialect spoken there. DISCUSSION Meta-analyses and factor analyses reported in this article suggest that the PCS is a reliable and valid measure for purposes of cross-cultural research as well as for use among American ethnic groups.48 to . Moreover. . 2000).e.81. unweighted and weighted alpha coefficients) shown here were spu- rious. respectively. that the cognitive immaturity of children (i. Spe- cifically. for Europe (Ukraine) they were both . The other set of low alphas comes from the English-speaking West Indies (St.72.sagepub.76. Khaleque / PARENTAL CONTROL SCALE 647 Both the unweighted and weighted mean effect sizes exceeded the . seven. respectively. between 53 and 496 additional studies—all with nonsignificant results— would be required to accept the conclusion that the effect sizes were spurious or due to sam- pling bias. 2000). heterogeneity tests for the three versions showed no significant heterogeneity or out- liers.68.73—all with probability Downloaded from jcc. and for the West Indies they were both . unweighted mean effect sizes for the child.

A test of parental acceptance-rejection theory and validation and reliability of related mea- sures. A. G.. K. This inference is based in part on the fact that the same factor structure emerged in all five ethnically distinct samples analyzed here. Unpublished raw data. 81-95. Sethi. C. The inference is also supported by the fact that the average intercorrelation among PCS items (i. however. and other sources of measurement error. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. 60. coefficient alphas) tends to be fairly high within most of the samples included in the meta-analysis. Unpublished master’s thesis. Having said this. Hofstra University. R. Varan. (1998). Children’s perceptions of corporal punishment. overall evidence provided here supports the conclusion that the PCS is a useful measure in multiethnic and cross-cultural research for assessing variations in parental control. R. part of the unexplained variance in these alphas may indeed result from sociocultural and other exogenous influences. Unpublished raw data. R. P. paternal involvement. 335-343. R. & Rohner. control. F. (1999). U. Parental acceptance-rejection and control in contempory Ukraine. NY.com at UNIV TORONTO on March 7. & Rohner.e. and youths’psycho- logical adjustment in a rural. (1998).648 JOURNAL OF CROSS-CULTURAL PSYCHOLOGY values less than . S. D.. Journal of Emotional Abuse. University of Connecticut. Additionally. Journal of Marriage and the Family. psychological adjustment and intimate adult relationships. Northern Illinois University. Perceived parental rejection.001. control. Unpublished raw data. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. Downloaded from jcc. parental control. and other such factors do not appear to exert enough influence to override the tendency for individuals throughout the United States and cross-culturally to perceive PCS items in similar ways. scoring errors. Rohner. A. (2002). P. (2002). R. Nonetheless. Rohner. California School of Professional Psychology. Perceived parental warmth. Rising. (2001).. The parenting styles of mothers and aggression in AD/HD children. caretaker acceptance. University of Connecticut. 1. and borderline personality disorder. A. Results of these meta-analyses also show that effect sizes are similar for published versus unpublished studies. social class.. Veneziano. (2002). Parental warmth. Riaz.. L. and psycholog- ical adjustment in Pakistani children.. P. (1995). & Khan. race. in addition to attenuation created by possible translation problems. biracial Southern community. Journal of Marriage and the Family. A. Veneziano. biracial Southern community. Hampstead. A. (1999). M. Bourque. there is no statistically significant heterogeneity in effect sizes across the three versions of the PCS. P. and psychological adjustment in a poor biracial Southern community. S. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. as well as for smaller versus larger sample studies. Unpublished raw data. Kim. Perceived paternal acceptance. R. Rohner. We should also point out that differences in ethnicity. or across the various geographic regions and eth- nic groups sampled. 33. we must also stress that because effect sizes are far from perfect. and youths’psychological adjustment in a rural. and involvement in schooling: Predicting academic achievement among Korean American adolescents. & Brothers. response bias. Los Angeles. 842-852. (2002). (1990). Associations among perceived parental acceptance-rejection. psychological maladjustment. 58. A. parental involvement. 127-140. (1996). Stern. Unpublished doctoral dis- sertation.sagepub. F. McPAC project. APPENDIX Studies Included in the Meta-Analysis Jordan. and psychosocial adjustment on job instability among men. P. 2015 . & Elordi. R. R. Parental acceptance-rejection. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology. Khaleque. B. The influence of perceived parental acceptance-rejection. (1996). Assessment of parental acceptance-rejection and control in Turkish children. S..

is director of the Ronald and Nancy Rohner Center for the Study of Parental Accep- tance and Rejection in the School of Family Studies at the University of Connecticut. His major research interests deal with the worldwide antecedents. and quality of life. London: Oliver & Boyd. R. P. Cooper. 37. intimate adult relationships. Rohner Center for the Study of Parental Acceptance-Rejection bibliography of writings. Rohner. F. Ronald P. The handbook for research synthesis (pp. Hedges. R.. 06268-1425. A.D. NJ: Erlbaum. Statistical methods for research workers. consequences. & Olkin. Carmines.. & Klein. Cooper & L.edu/~rohner Rosenthal. (2003). D. C. Child Development.. Rohner. A nonparametric technique for meta-analysis effect size calculation. Newbury Park.uconn. and other correlates of perceived interpersonal (especially parental) acceptance and rejection as well as with associated dimensions of parenting. Kraemer. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. W. Wolf. 131-146. In H. G.. His current research interests include cross-cultural parenting and lifespan development. E. & Andrews. Retrieved from http://vm. M. (1979).). I. W. 404-412. Khaleque / PARENTAL CONTROL SCALE 649 REFERENCES Barber. Statistically combining independent studies: A meta-analysis of sex differences in confor- mity research. Cournoyer. psychological adjustment. (1989).D. (1928). Abdul Khaleque. N. Downloaded from jcc.com at UNIV TORONTO on March 7. Storrs. 255 Codfish Falls Road. E. New York: Academic Press. (1996). (1985). Mahwah. R. Parametric measures for effect size. Ph. Hedges (Eds. Parental Acceptance-Rejection/Control Questionnaire (PARQ/Control). (2003). Meta-analysis: Quantitative methods for research synthesis. V. S. 67. A. L. 2015 . R. Available from Rohner Research. M. Ph. Statistical methods for meta-analysis. Research methods for social work. He is also pro- fessor emeritus of family studies and anthropology at the university. Fisher. Psy- chological Bulletin. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 231-244). CA: Sage. Rohner. 3296-3319. (1982). He was also a professor of psychology at the University of Dhaka in Bangladesh.. V. C. Storrs. K.. Rosenthal. is a senior scientist in the Ronald and Nancy Rohner Center for the Study of Parental Acceptance and Rejection in the School of Family Studies at the University of Connecticut. (2000). Beverly Hills.sagepub. 638-641. The file drawer problem and tolerance for null results. & Zeller. Parental psychological control: Revisiting a neglected construct. R. Grolnick. The psychology of parental control: How well-meant parenting backfires. CA: Sage. H. CT. P. Rohner. health. Boston: Allyn & Bacon. G. Reliability and validity assessment. (1979). R. Psychological Bulletin. (1986). well-being. (1994). 86. 91. (1979). B.