Autonomy & Parental Control

Autonomy & Parental Control

Created Variables

Child Trends, Inc., has created several indexes based on the parental control variables. The following are available:

FP_YHLIMITS. Provides limit-setting index based on youth report asking who sets the limits on three different kinds of activities; rounds 1-3. This index is based on the questions asking who sets the limits (parent, youth, or jointly determined) on three different kinds of activities. The index indicates the youth's perception of the amount of control the parent exerts in setting limits

FP_PHLIMITS. Provides limiting-setting index based on parent report regarding who sets the limits on activities; round 1 only. This comparable index uses the same questions asked of the responding parent to indicate the parent's perception of the amount of control exerted.

FP_YHBROKED. Provides limit-breaking index based on youth report; rounds 1-3. This index indicates whether the youth reported breaking any of the limits in the past 30 days.

FP_PHBROKED. Provides limiting-breaking index based on parent report; round 1 only. This comparable index reports whether the responding parent stated that the youth broke any limits in the past 30 days. Interested users should consult Codebook Supplement Appendix 9 for details on the above indexes. In addition, this appendix describes statistical analyses performed by Child Trends on these indexes and on several related variables: (1) who handles a limit violation, as reported by the youth; (2) who handles a violation, according to the parent; and (3) the youth's report of the consequences expected if a limit is broken.

Both the NLSY97 respondents and their responding parents have been asked about the level of autonomy or parental control that determines the rules, if any, regarding the youth's activities. These questions allow for an opportunity to compare the respondents' and their parent's perceptions about rule setting and discipline.

Youth Questionnaire. In rounds 1-5, respondents born in 1983 or 1984 were questioned about the person or persons who make decisions concerning their activities, including how late they may stay out at night, the kinds of TV shows or movies they may watch, and who they are allowed to "hang out" with. For each rule that is reportedly made only by the respondent's parents or jointly by the parents and the respondent, a follow-up question asked about the number of times the respondent broke the rules in the last 30 days. Information was also collected on what action the parent(s) would take if they found out that the respondent had violated the rules, as well as which person would be most likely to handle a rule violation.

Parent Questionnaire (round 1). Responding parents of youths born in 1983 or 1984 were asked a set of autonomy and control questions similar to those found in the Youth Questionnaire, allowing comparison of youth and parent perceptions.  For each rule detailed above, the responding parent was first surveyed on who makes that particular rule. Follow-up questions asked about the number of times the youth broke the rules in the last 30 days if the rule was made only by the parent or jointly by the parent and the youth. The responding parent was also asked to state the person who would most likely handle a rule violation.

Comparison to Other NLS Surveys:  The Children of the NLSY79 age 10-14 have provided information about who makes rules regarding their behavior, although not about the consequences of violating the rules. For more information, consult the NLSY79 Child & Young Adult User's Guide.

Survey Instruments: Questions on autonomy and control are found in the self-administered section (question names begin with YSAQ) of the Youth Questionnaire. In the round 1 Parent Questionnaire, this information was collected in section PC12.

Related User's Guide Sections Attitudes
Main Area of Interest Autonomy & Control
Family Process Measures