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 Table of Contents  
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 27  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 19-23

Parenting styles and mental health of adolescents: A cross-sectional study in South India

1 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, St. John's Medical College, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Department of OBG, St. Martha's Hospital, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
3 Department of Community Health, St. John's Medical College, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Date of Submission24-Oct-2020
Date of Decision24-Jul-2021
Date of Acceptance01-Aug-2021
Date of Web Publication03-Feb-2022

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Naveen Ramesh
Department of Community Health, St. John's Medical College, Bengaluru - 560 034, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jmhhb.jmhhb_176_20

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Background: Environmental factors determine the behavior of children, and children, in turn, depend on their parents or caregivers to provide them with safe and holistic physical and social environment. Baumrind's classified parenting style into four types: Authoritarian, Authoritative, Permissive, and Uninvolved. Objective: The objective is to determine the perceived parenting styles and its association with stress among adolescents. Methodology: This cross-sectional study involved adolescents between the ages of 13 and 19 years studying in Government Secondary Schools located in two villages of rural Karnataka, South India. Parenting styles were assessed by parenting styles and dimensions questionnaire (PSDQ) short version, and stress was measured using the Perceived Stress Scale. Results: Among the 445 adolescents who participated in this study, 228 (51.2%) were male and 217 (48.8%) were female. Based on the mean PSDQ score, authoritarian parenting style (53.07%) was the most prevalent type, followed closely by the authoritative (52.16%) style. Boys from all age groups felt their parents adopted permissive style and girls of all age groups felt their parents had an authoritative style. The prevalence of moderate and mild stress was more among boys and girls, respectively. Parenting style did not change with substance use among parents. Permissive parenting styles for boys and authoritarian parenting style for girls were associated with higher stress. Conclusion: According to adolescents, their parents adopted authoritarian parenting style; permissive style among boys, and authoritative style among girls, and this was associated with high-stress levels.

Keywords: Adolescents, parenting styles, rural, school, stress

How to cite this article:
Vijay C, Gonsalves KP, Ramesh N. Parenting styles and mental health of adolescents: A cross-sectional study in South India. J Mental Health Hum Behav 2022;27:19-23

How to cite this URL:
Vijay C, Gonsalves KP, Ramesh N. Parenting styles and mental health of adolescents: A cross-sectional study in South India. J Mental Health Hum Behav [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Jun 4];27:19-23. Available from: https://www.jmhhb.org/text.asp?2022/27/1/19/337226

  Introduction Top

It has long been the center of discussion as to which type of parenting is expected to bring up children in a rapidly developing world. It has been proposed that an authoritative type of parenting stimulates successful socialization of the middle-class American child.[1] Environmental factors greatly determine the behavior of children, with a uniqueness that children depend upon their parents or caregivers to provide them with safe and holistic physical and social environment.[1] Baumrind's classification divided parenting into three major types.[2] Authoritarian style is characterized by clear parental authority and obedience, authoritative is characterized by reasoning induction and democratic participation, permissive is characterized by tolerance and ignorance of the child's misbehavior. The fourth type which has been included later, was the uninvolved parenting which is characterized by no warmth and neglect.[2] Parents have a huge impact on a children life, and many studies support that importance of parenting style on the development of children.[2],[3]

Disciplinary efforts are termed demandingness, while supportive criticism is termed responsiveness.[3] Parenting style has an impact on academic performance and psychosocial development.[3] A study stated that parenting style, specially demandingness and responsiveness, effect a child's anxiety levels.[4] Life is filled with many challenges, hardships and can be quiet stressful in individuals who find it difficult to cope with them. Cohen had devised a tool to quantify stress, and it was based on the situation in one's life that were deemed as stressful and explored the feelings and thoughts the individual experienced.[5] Different parenting styles can also lead to child behavioral problems.[6] There is paucity of studies measuring parenting styles as experienced by adolescents and hence we set out to determine the perceived parenting styles and its impact on stress among school-going adolescents.

  Methodology Top

This cross-sectional study involved adolescents between the age of 13 and 19 years studying in standard 8th to 10th in Government Secondary School located in two villages of rural Karnataka, South India, between May and July 2019.

A structured validated questionnaire was used to collect the information. The questionnaire consisted of three parts – sociodemographic details, parenting styles, and stress measurements. Parenting styles experienced by the adolescents were assessed by parenting styles and dimensions questionnaire short version developed by Robinson et al. which divided the parenting styles into the following four types authoritarian, authoritative, uninvolved, and permissive.[1],[2] The items were rated on 5-point Likert Scale ranging from 1 “never” to 5 “always” and the mean scores were calculated and higher scores indicating more use of that style. The presence of stress was measured using the Perceived Stress Scale.[5] This was a five-point Likert format with score zero of “never” to four for “almost always.” Higher scores were indicative of high-stress levels. The last part was on substance use (alcohol and tobacco) among the parents. The study tools were translated to the local language i.e., Kannada. The study tools were translated to Kannada and back-translated into English by two independent language experts.

The study was approved by the Institutional Ethics Committee (162/2019). Prior to approaching the students, written permission was obtained from the respective school principal. Prior to the study, copy of the consent form was sent along with the students to obtain parental consent. All the 445 students who were present on the day of the study met the inclusion criteria and gave either assent or consent to be part of this study.

The participating students were contacted during the school working hours, informed about the purpose and the importance of their participation in the study. The students were given appropriate instructions on how to answer the questions. It took approximately 45 min to complete answering the questionnaire.

Data was entered in Microsoft Excel and analyzed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS Version 16) (Publisher: IBM Corp., USA, 2011). Mean and Standard deviation were computed for quantitative data. Pearson's Chi-square and Fisher's exact were done check for the associations and significance. The P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant.

  Results Top

The total number of study participants was 445 which included 228 (51.2%) males and 217 (48.8%) females between 13 and 19 years of age. Based on the sociodemographic details, most of the students were from lower middle class (103 [30.2%]) based on modified BG Prasad classification. Majority of the parents were above 30 years of age, fathers 332 (98.8%) and mothers (81.19%) and parents with secondary education and beyond were as follows, father 227 (69.63%) and mother 216 (67.71%). Based on BMI, 162 (36.4%) students were underweight.

As depicted in [Table 1], based on the total mean score, authoritarian type (53.07) was the most common, followed closely by authoritative type (52.16).
Table 1: Mean scores of parenting style as perceived by students

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As shown in [Table 2], most 188 (42.2%) adolescents responded that they experienced a permissive type of parenting. When the data were subdivided into girls and boys, girls felt their parents adopted authoritative style (mean: 72.05) while boys felt their parents adopted a permissive style (mean: 46.76) of parenting. The type of parenting style did not change much among parents with or without substance use like tobacco and/or alcohol. Parenting style was significantly associated with the age of the adolescents, with 13–14 years having their parents adopting a permissive type and authoritative type by parents of girls who did not use any substance.
Table 2: Association between parenting styles and study variables

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The prevalence of stress among the study participants was as follows, 135 (30.33%) had mild stress, 177 (39.77%) had moderate stress, and 133 (29.88%) severe stress as depicted in [Table 3]. The prevalence of severe stress among boys was 66 (28.94%), and among girls was 67 (30.87%). Half of the adolescent boy's experienced moderate stress, and among them, 73% (83 of 114) had parents with permissive parenting style. Among adolescent girls, 40% had mild stress and among them, 47% (41 of 87) of the girls had parents with authoritative parenting style. Moderate stress 41 (65.07%) was significantly higher among girls who experience an authoritative parenting style (<0.001b*).
Table 3: Association between parenting styles and stress

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  Discussion Top

It is well known that the different types of parenting styles create different emotional climate for adolescents.[7] Children and adolescents need emotional and social development that can be determined by type of parenting styles adopted at home.[8] Different types of parenting styles affect overall development of every child.

Gender played an important role in determining type of parenting style wherein adolescent boys experienced permissive (66%) parenting style which is more of indulgent type of parenting while the girls felt their parents used authoritative style (49%) which is more of physical coercion, verbal hostility, and punitive style. Hence the parents were stricter with their daughters when compared to their sons. The possible reasons could be the local cultural practices and belief wherein the role boys may play as adults in being breadwinners and taking care of their parents during their old age and being overprotective of girls. A study by Maria et al., showed both girls and boys felt that an authoritative type of parenting was employed by both parents, but boys perceived their parents as more authoritarian when compared to girls.[7],[9] In comparison to our study, boys felt their parents be more uninvolved. Probably, this shows that sociocultural factors such as economic status, single or both parents working, substance abuse among parents, type of family and behavior of the head of the family, moral character of either parents, beliefs of the family members especially grandparents, influences the type of parenting styles in an Indian system.

In a study with regards to stress among adolescents with learning disability, findings differed from our study results, claiming that authoritative parenting had negative impact on self-concept, owing to cultural differences.[7],[8],[9] The study went on to say that India being a collectivist culture, promoted qualities required for an Indian socio-cultural background.[7] This type of parenting causes an individual to inhibit their own personal expressions in order to attend to the needs of others, i.e., to provide for others (family) before providing for oneself. Studies have also shown that authoritative parenting had better mental health in children.[10],[11],[12] In our study, the authoritative style was associated with lesser stress among boys (10%) when compared to girls. In fact stress was highest among girls (50%) whose parents adopted authoritative parenting style.

Among all the boys with severe stress (57%) had parents who adopted permissive style and girls with severe stress (50%) had parents who adopted authoritarian style, whereas a study showed authoritarian parenting style to be predominant among families of Asian heritage.[3] The authoritarian parenting style was related with negative mental and academic effects on children, leading to depression and anxiety.[13],[14]

Study by Shyny and Velayudhan[15] showed that children 12 years of age had high authoritarian (mean = 27.95) parenting styles compared to their counterparts of other age groups. Our study showed contrasting results in the age group of children 13–14 years of age, in boys (84.05%) felt they received a permissive type of parenting while girls (43.75%) felt they received an authoritative type of parenting.

A moderate level of stress was prevalent among both adolescent boys (72.80%) and girls (65.07%, P < 0.001) with authoritative parenting style. Similar results were seen by Lee et al.[16] and Matejevic et al.[17] stating children with authoritative parents exhibited more positive behavior (P < 0.001) and study by Gorostiaga et al.[18] found authoritative parents was associated with lesser chance of depression.

The type of parenting style remained unchanged even among parents with or without substance use such as tobacco and alcohol, i.e., permissive type for boys and authoritative style among girls. Studies have shown cultural backgrounds and lifestyle to influence the type of parenting.[19],[20]

This necessitates the need to train teachers and school counselors to pick up children during the initial stages of mental illness and the need to screen these children by a psychologist or psychiatrist. Schools and colleges can also conduct sessions on “coping mechanisms.” Importance of adolescent mental health to be emphasized in the National Health Mission (NHM) and should be a component of Reproductive-Maternal-Neonatal-Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCH + A) and need for registry in government schools for the same should be promoted.


One among the first few papers where the children have rated the parenting styles. Girls felt that their parents adopted authoritative parenting style which is associated with better outcome than authoritarian and uninvolved parenting in both Western countries and in India.[21] The study also associated different parenting styles with the prevalence of stress and habits among parents.

Scope for the future

NHM should accentuate the need for adolescent mental health to help reduce the burden of mental illness in the future.

  Conclusion Top

Adolescents felt that their parents adopted authoritarian parenting style. Parents of adolescent girls took on authoritative parenting style, while for adolescent boys they adopted a permissive parenting style. Majority of the boys had moderate stress whereas the majority of the girls had mild stress. Nearly one-third of our study population had a severe form of stress. High-stress levels were noted among adolescent boys with parents adopting the permissive style and among adolescent girls with parents adopting the authoritarian style.


The study team remains grateful to the Teachers of the Government schools of Masthi and Kesereger. The study team thanks Dr. Sakthi Arasu, Rev. Fr. Sibi, Dr. Manu, Dr. Sr. Ann Christy, Dr. Tinnu George, Dr. Nikitha P, Dr. Shivakumar, Sr. Sujatha, Sr. Neviditha, Mr. Amaresh and Ms. Rajitha M. Special thanks to the Vanaprastha Charitable Trust Hospital for its everlasting support during the conduct of this study.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

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Rangarajan J, Narasimhan U, Janakiraman A, Sasidharan P, Chandrasekaran P. Parenting styles of parents who had children with and without high risk at birth: A cross-sectional comparative study. Cureus 2020;12:e7079.  Back to cited text no. 3
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Bajaria, P. A study on self-concept and parenting styles in adolescents with learning disabilities. Indian J Ment Health 2018;2:272.  Back to cited text no. 10
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  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]


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