This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Parental Protection and Guidance Related to Early Adolescents’ Stressful Peer Experiences




Warren, Kalyn

Type of Degree

Master's Thesis


Human Development and Family Science

Restriction Status


Restriction Type

Auburn University Users

Date Available



Peer-related parenting has been connected to young adolescents’ social and emotional wellbeing, yet largely missing from the literature are attempts to understand how parents respond to youths’ social and emotional difficulties in peer stress situations. In the present study, links between adolescents’ social anxiety and social skills and parents’ efforts to provide advice (guidance) and comfort (protection) were examined in the context of a lab-based peer-evaluative stress protocol and parent-adolescent discussion about peer stress (N = 80, Mage = 11.92 years, SD = 1.27). General social anxiety was assessed using the Social Anxiety Scale for Adolescents, context-specific anxiety was measured based on adolescent reports during the lab protocol, and observed social anxiety during the lab protocol was coded by researchers. Observed social skills were measured via researchers’ coding of adolescents’ sensitive responding during a peer-evaluative stress task. Parent-reported prosocial skills were measured via the Social Behavior Rating Scale. Parental guidance was measured via observed cognitive framing and advice-giving about peer stress during the parent-adolescent discussion (observed guidance) and based on parent reflections during a video playback of the parent-adolescent discussion (reported guidance). Protection was measured via observed sensitivity and warm responding during the parent-adolescent discussion (observed protection) and based on parent reflections during a video playback of the parent-adolescent discussion (reported protection). It was hypothesized that higher social anxiety and lower social skills would be related to lower guidance and lower protection, and this was confirmed with varying levels of consistency. Significant negative associations emerged between context-specific anxiety and observed protection and between context-specific anxiety and observed guidance. Interactions emerged when predicting reported guidance such that each measure of anxiety moderated the relationship between parent-reported social skills and reported guidance. Higher parent-reported social skills were associated with higher reported guidance at lower levels of observed and context-specific anxiety (but not at higher levels of observed and context-specific anxiety) and at higher levels of general social anxiety (but not at lower levels of general social anxiety). The results, strengths, limitations, and possible applied implications are discussed.