Perceiving concealment in relationships between parents and adolescents: Links with parental behavior


  • Rutger Engels was supported by a fellowship of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) during the preparation of this manuscript. Tom Frijns was supported by Grant 42520701 from the NWO.

should be addressed to Catrin Finkenauer, Free University of Amsterdam, Department of Social Psychology, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands, e-mail:


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.