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Abstract

Although concealment in relationships is commonplace, little is known about its implications for the target of concealment. Two large-scale studies among adolescents and their parents tested the central hypothesis that parents’ perception of child concealment predicts poorer parenting behaviors toward their child. Further, we investigated whether actual child concealment adds to the prediction of parenting behaviors through an interaction with parental perception of concealment. Study 1 yielded evidence for the hypothesized link, which was independent of actual concealment. Study 2 largely replicated these results for perceptions of both concealment and lying while controlling for perceptions of disclosure. Overall, these results suggest that parents’ perception of child concealment coincides with poorer parenting behaviors, regardless of actual child concealment.