The Influence of Parents on Adolescent Self-efficacy and Leisure Boredom

Open Access
Swope, Emily Rose
Area of Honors:
Human Development and Family Studies
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Linda Caldwell, Thesis Supervisor
  • Lesley Ross, Honors Advisor
  • adolescent
  • boredom
  • leisure
  • self-efficacy
  • parent
  • parental control
  • parental support
The present study examined the influence of parental support and parental control on adolescent boredom and self-efficacy during leisure time activities. Participants included 2, 204 adolescents from Mitchell’s Plain, a township outside of Cape Town, South Africa (age range = 12-17). Hypotheses for our study were that (1) higher parental control will predict higher boredom; (2) higher parental control will predict lower self-efficacy; (3) higher parental support will predict lower boredom; and (4) higher parental support will predict higher self-efficacy. We also explored how gender may moderate these relationships and the potential mediation of self-efficacy in the relationship between parental control and boredom as well as parental support and boredom. We performed descriptive statistics, factor analysis, simple linear regressions to test our hypotheses, and ran hierarchical linear regressions to test our research questions regarding gender as a moderator. Finally, we tested for mediating relationships with path models (using hierarchical linear regressions). Results indicated that higher parental control is associated with higher boredom, especially for males. Additionally, higher parental control and parental support are associated with higher self-efficacy, especially for males. No relationship was found between parental support and boredom, and no mediating relationships existed. Overall, results suggest that parents have an important role in the boredom and self-efficacy that their adolescent children experience during leisure time. Parents should be cautioned from exerting too much control over their children’s free time in order to reduce their boredom. In this sample of South African youth, it appears that if youth perceived their parents as supportive, they also reported higher levels of self-efficacy. Ironically, those who perceived higher levels of parental control also reported higher levels of self-efficacy. Potential cultural explanations for this contradictory finding are explored.