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Abstract

The present study was designed to contribute to our understanding of the development of chronic self-regulatory orientations reflecting self-regulation with a promotion and prevention focus, respectively. Little research addressed this issue empirically, although regulatory focus theory (RFT) explicitly entails assumptions concerning the role of parenting styles in the development of habitual self-regulatory orientations. According to RFT, parenting styles involving a critical and punitive mode that is focused on attaining safety and meeting obligations increases the likelihood that the child will acquire a predominantly prevention-focused style of self-regulation. In contrast, parenting styles involving a bolstering mode that is focused on accomplishing ideal goals and fulfilling aspirations increases the likelihood that the child will acquire a predominantly promotion-focused style of self-regulation. To test these assumptions, the present study assessed via self-reports the degree to which participants experienced different parenting styles as well as their chronic self-regulatory focus. The results reveal positive associations between the critical and punitive parenting style and prevention-focused self-regulation and between the bolstering parenting style and promotion-focused self-regulation thus corroborating the propositions of RFT. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.