2011. Vol.2, No.3, 230-234
Copyright © 2011 SciRes. DOI:10.4236/psych.2011.23036
The Relationship between Parents’ Child Rearing Styles and Their
Children’s Quality of Life and Mental Health
Mustafa Bolghan-Abadi*, Sayed Ali Kimiaee, Fatemeh Amir
Faculty of Educational Sciences & Psychology, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran.
Received November 9th, 2010; revised January 20th, 2011; accepted February 27th, 2011.
Enhancing people’s quality of life and their mental health is one of the challenges for the “World Health Or-
ganization”. As parents have a close interpersonal relationship with their children, they play an important role in
changing their children’s quality of life and mental health. However, the important question is whether parents’
child rearing styles affect children’s quality of life and mental health. The purpose of this article is to investigate
the role of parents’ child rearing styles in children’s quality of life and mental health. The main hypothesis is
that the parenting styles have a significant role in predicting the quality of life and mental health. The population
of the research included all of the high school students in Neyshabour city as well as their parents who were se-
lected through a random sampling method. For data collection, Baumrind’s parents’ child rearing styles, the
quality of life (WHOQOL-BREF) and Goldberg’s mental health questionnaires were employed. For data analy-
sis in the descriptive level mean, standard deviation and Pierson’s correlation methods were utilized, and Multi-
ple Regression Test was used at the inference level. The findings show that the main hypothesis is approved.
Keywords: Child Rearing Styles, Quality of Life, Mental Health
The quality of life and mental health are two of the main
factors of the general concepts of health (Park, 1995). Accord-
ing to international standards, health does not contain only the
physical aspects. The “World Health Organization” has defined
health as “the status in which one is mentally, emotionally, and
socially in complete health with no symptoms of disease”.
Therefore, in evaluating the health conditions, not only should
the traditional health indices, i.e. the mortality and affliction to
disease rates be focused, but the people’s perception of life
quality should be considered as well (Campos, 2002). The defi-
nition of the “World Health Organization” for the quality of life
is as follows: people’s evaluation and perception of their own
life status is under the influence of the cultural and value sys-
tems in which they are living, and in fact the aims, expectations,
standards and a persons’ needs that are extremely affected by
his/her physical and mental status, the extent of independency,
social relations and beliefs (WHO-QOL group, 1996; Mirkhani,
2001). Therefore, based on this comprehensive definition, the
quality of life has a close relationship with the physical and
mental statue, personal beliefs, self-sufficiency rates, social
relationships and environment. Furthermore, Cella (1994),
Cynthia (1998) and Evnase (1989) have defined the quality of
life as one’s satisfaction with all the aspects of life including
mental, social, economic, cultural, spiritual and sexual ones.
Parents’ child rearing styles are one of the world constructs
(Darling, 1993), which express the emotional and general rela-
tionships between parents and children (Baumrind, 1991; Xie,
1996). The research supports the effect on and the role of pa-
rental control in creating antisocial behaviors, and Elise (quoted
from Lanyado & Horne, 1999) has pointed out that no problem
is created if parental control in adolescents’ viewpoints seems
logical and is performed in a warm and friendly atmosphere,
but if the control is done unemotionally, the antisocial behav-
iors of adolescents may increase. Most of adolescents and
youths who have committed delinquencies are experiencing an
insensible, cold, dismissive, and unbearable world. Research
showed that most of the children with somatic complaints and
somatization disorders are from inconstant families, and un-
derwent misbehaviors (Blanchard, 2004; Craig et al., 1993;
Lacner et al., 2007). The parents of these children are rough,
disharmonious and inadaptable in their control using authori-
tarian child rearing styles (Radmanesh & Shafei, 2003;
Bloomquist, 2004). Parents’ upbringing and child rearing styles
are the important factors in changing and stabilizing the behav-
ioral problems of children (Diaz, 2005; Conger et al., 1992).
Baumrind defines the parenting style as the parental control
function which is divided into three methods, namely authori-
tarian, authoritative and permissive (Mounts et al., 1994). The
authoritarian child rearing style is identified with severe control,
high restriction, rough and disharmonious discipline and a low
level of emotional support. Evidence shows that the authoritar-
ian style has a negative relationship with behavioral conse-
quences including aggression, externalization, and lower emo-
tional function. On the other hand, the authoritative child rear-
ing style is identified with high levels of emotional support,
proper independency, and a mutual relationship between par-
ents and children. Based on the research conducted, this par-
enting style has a positive effect on educational advancement,
more self-sufficiency, less misbehavior, and a better relation-
ship with the peers (Laali-Faz & Askari, 2008). Finally, a lack
of parental control and good response to children’s needs,
which is called permissive child rearing style, leads to their
delinquency and aggression for a lack of supervision and neg-
ligence on the part of parents (Bayrami, 2009). Based on the
results of the research, the authoritative parenting style, especially
connection and autonomy dimensions and socioeconomic status
can decrease feelings of loneliness in female students (Dwairy
& Menshar, 2006). Yousefi (2007) has found a relationship
between the child rearing styles of parents, the social skills and
some self-concept aspects of high school students in Shiraz city.
The results of the research conducted by Sohrabi & Hasani
(2007) showed that the authoritarian child rearing style, family
collapse, substance abuse among family members, and educa-
tional failure have an effect upon the antisocial behavior of
young girls, but parents’ ages and the number of children have
no effect on the above-mentioned behaviors. The results of
Momeni and Amiri’s research showed that there is a significant
positive relationship between authoritarian style of parents and
anorexia nervosa among female adolescents. Second, there is a
significant negative relationship between the authoritative style
of parents and anorexia nervosa among female adolescents.
Third, no significant relationship between the permissive style
of parents and anorexia nervosa was found in female adolescents.
Therefore, they conclude that there is a relationship between
child rearing styles and the incidence of anorexia nervosa and
its subscales in female adolescents (Momeni & Amiri, 2008).
Nijhof & Engels (2007) indicated that students brought up by
authoritative and permissive parents experienced more and
stronger feelings of homesickness than students brought up by
authoritarian or uninvolved parents. Huver et al., (2010) found
that there is a relationship between parental personality and
parenting styles among 688 Dutch parents of adolescents.
Mental health is associated with authoritative parenting, but
not with authoritarian parenting. It seems that authoritarian
parenting within an dictatorial culture is not as harmful within a
liberal culture (Dwairy & Menshar, 2006). Parenting style is a
significant factor in disease severity and the quality of life in
children with cerebral palsy (Aran et al., 2007).
Based on the definition of the “World Health Organization”,
Since parents (especially mothers) have a close relationship
with their children, the question remains to be answered
whether there is any relationship between parent-child relations
and children’s quality of life and mental health. The aim of this
research is to investigate the role of parents’ child rearing styles
in children’s quality of life and mental health. The main hy-
pothesis of this study indicates that the parents’ child rearing
styles have a significant role in predicting the quality of life and
mental health of their children. The main hypothesis of the
study indicates that there is a significant relationship between
child rearing styles and children’s quality of life and mental
health. The sub-hypotheses are as follows:
a) Parenting styles have a significant role in senior high
school students’ mental health.
b) Parenting styles have a significant role in senior high
school students’ quality of life.
c) There is a significant correlation between parenting styles
and the quality of life.
d) There is a significant correlation between parenting styles
and mental health. Method
In this case, the research method is descriptive and typical of
correlation. For gathering data, a sample of 150 subjects is
chosen in a random sampling method from all senior high
school students and their parents from Neyshabour city.
For collecting data, 150 subjects of senior high school stu-
dents (85 females and 65 males) were chosen in random sam-
pling method for this research, 13 subjects of whom (7 females
and 6 males) were dropped during the stage of filling out the
questionnaires. The subjects included in the research reached
137 ones (78 females and 59 males), and consequently their
parents’ questionnaires were not included in the analysis. The
age range of students was between 15 to 18 years old. (Mean =
16.21, Standard Deviation = 1.27). The age range of mothers
was also between 33 to 58 years old. (Mean = 38.2, Standard
Deviation 2.41).
The students who were chosen as the research sample were
collected through a calling up invitation, and then filled out the
quality of life and mental health questionnaires. For conducting
the child rearing styles of parents, the questionnaires were at-
tached to a letter inside an envelope and sent to the mothers.
Moreover, the aim of this research was explained to them
through phone calls in order to induce further coordination.
Parents’ child rearing styles questionnaire: this questionnaire
was designed in 1972 by Dianna Baumrind. It consists of 30
Items in which every 10 Items test one style of parenting
(authoritative style, permissive style, and authoritarian style).
This questionnaire was normalized in Iran by Esfandyari (1984),
whose reliability was reported by Cronbach’s Alpha in
authoritative, permissive, and authoritarian style, which were
0.73, 0.69, and 0.77 respectively. In this research, the test
reliability is obtained via Cronbach's Alpha in which the
permissive scale is 0.50, the authoritative scale is 0.73, and the
authoritarian scale is 0.60 (Esfandyari, quoted from Rayisi,
Mental Health questionnaire: this questionnaire consists of
28 questions which were normalized by Tagavi (2001), whose
reliability was obtained in three methods of retesting, splitting
(split-half), and Cronbach's Alpha, which were 0.55, 0.72, and
0.87, respectively. In this research, its reliability is also
calculated at 0.96 via Cronbach’s Alpha.
The Word Health Organization Quality of Life Questionnaire
(WHOQOL-BREF): this questionnaire was purposely designed
by the World Health Organization for evaluating the quality of
life (Word Health Organization, 1998). In Iran, Nejat et al.
normalized this scale, and the Alpha coefficient of the ques-
tionnaire was reported for healthy populations in the context of
physical health, 0.70; mental health, 0.73; social relations, 0.55,
and environmental relations, 0.84. The reliability coefficient of
the retesting method was 0.7 after two weeks. In another re-
search, the reliability of the questionnaire was obtained at 0.87
(Bolghan-Ababdi et al., 2010). In the current research, the reli-
ability is estimated at 0.89.
For data analysis in the descriptive level mean, standard
deviation and Pierson’s correlation methods were used and
Multiple Regression Test (Inter Method) was employed at the
inference level.
In Table 1, the mean, Pierson correlation coefficient, and
standard deviation are presented for mental health, quality of
life, and parenting styles variables.
By considering the information in Table 1, there is a
significant positive relation between the permissive style and
the quality of life, and also between authoritative styles and
mental health. That is, the more the marks of the permissive
style, the better the marks of the students’quality of life of and
vice versa, and the more the marks of the authoritative style, the
better the marks of students’ mental health and vice versa. Also,
there is a significant negative relationship between the
authoritarian style and the quality of life. That is, the more the
marks of the authoritarian style, the worse the marks of quality
of life and vice versa.
Table 2 shows that only the authoritative child rearing style
could predict 0.22 of mental health variation (p = 0.009), but
the other styles cannot significantly participate in evaluating
mental health variation.
Table 3 also shows that the permissive child rearing style
clarifies 0.44 of the quality of life variation, and there is also a
positive relationship between them (p = 0.001); but the author-
itarian child rearing style can only clarify 0.43 of the quality of
life variation (p < 0.001), between which there is also a
negative relationship. Research conclusions have approved the
main hypothesis of the investigation.
Table 1.
Mean, standard deviation & pierrson correlation coefficient.
Pierson’s Correlation Coefficient
Indexes Mean
(Standard Deviation) Permissive Authoritarian Authoritative Mental health Quality of life
Permissive 26.73
(4.21) 1
Authoritarian 25.94
(4.91) 0.047 1
Authoritative 43.03
(3.89) 0.274* 0.153 1
Mental health 68.54
(22.51) 0.114 0.144 0.256* 1
Quality of life 88.72
(12.57) 0.409* 0.404* 0.143 0.104 1
*Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).
Table 2.
The results of linear regression (enter model) with mental health as criterion variable, and authoritative style, permissive style, and authoritarian
style as predictors variables.
Unstandardized CoefficientsStandardized CoefficientsCollinearity Statistics
Coefficients B Std. Error Beta t Sig. Tolerance
(Constant) 18.345 24.031 0.7630.446
authoritative 1.287 0.485 0.222 2.6540.009* 0.897
permissive 0.310 0.443 0.058 0.6990.485 0.916
authoritarian 0.519 0.370 0.113 1.4030.163 0.968
* is significant at the 0.01 level. (F (df = 3,146) = 4.220, p = 0.007, Adjusted R2 = 0.061)
Table 3.
The results of linear regression (enter model) with the quality of life as criterion variable, and authoritative style, permissive style, and authoritarian
style as predictors variables.
Unstandardized Coefficients Standardized CoefficientsColinearity Statist ics
Coefficients B Std. Error Beta t p Tolerance
(Constant) 88.415 11.283 7.8360.000
permissive 1.317 0.208 0.442 6.3370.000* 0.916
authoritarian 1.106 0.174 0.432 6.368 0.000* 0.968
authoritative 0.144 0.228 0.045 0.634 0.527 0.897
* are significant at the 0.01 level. (F (df = 3,146) = 26.110, p = < 0.001, Adjusted R2 = 0.336)
The present research was conducted by the aim of consider-
ing the role of parents’ child rearing styles in the quality of life
and mental health of children. The research conclusion showed
that the more authoritative parents the senior high school stu-
dents of Neyshabour city have, the more mental health they
enjoy. These research findings are in mutual accord with the
previous Iranian research findings (e.g. Pourahmadi et al., 2009;
Momeni & Amiri, 2008; SeyedMosavi et al., 2008; Hoseini
Nasab et al., 2008; Zahrakar, 2008) and simlar foreign researches
(e.g. Dwairy & Menshar, 2006; Buri et al., 1988; Lamborn et al.,
1991; Wenar, 1994). Another finding derived from this research
is the students who have permissive parents enjoy a higher rate
of quality of life. On the other hand, the students who have
authoritarian parents enjoy a lower rate of quality of life. This
finding is in mutual accord with previous researches (e.g.
Yousefi, 2008; Sohrabi & Hasani, 2007; Laali-Faz & Askari,
2008; Bayrami, 2009). The limitations related to previous re-
searches is that instead of using the child rearing styles of par-
ents, a perceived form was usually employed for children, in
which it was possible that the children had not yet reached a
proper understanding of their parents’ child rearing styles. One
potential problem of the study is the lack of face-to-face rela-
tionship with the participants’ mothers, such that the mothers’
responses could be biased; however, we tried to minimize the
problem via providing them with extensive written information
prior to the completion of the measures.
We warmly thank all the teachers, and colleagues whom we
have consulted so frequently, and the students who has helped
so much at every stage in this study.
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