Year of Publication

2018

Season of Publication

Summer

Paper Type

Master's Thesis

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Degree Name

Master of Arts in General Psychology (MAGP)

Department

Psychology

NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Wolff

Second Advisor

Dr. Susan Perez

Department Chair

Dr. Lori Lange

College Dean

Dr. George Rainbolt

Abstract

Evidence suggests that adolescence and young adulthood is a transitional stage whereby unique contextual factors may increase the likelihood for certain individuals to engage in risk-taking compared to their peers. In addition to influential environmental aspects (i.e. parenting, societal affiliations, peer influence) an adolescent’s and young adult’s underdeveloped cognitive control system is unable to successfully inhibit early maturing tendencies such as sensation seeking and reward sensitivity. However, previous research indicates that certain parental mechanisms may serve as protective/promotive agents for stabilizing this neurobiological imbalance. Therefore, the focus of the current research was to examine how parenting behaviors and styles moderate the relations between neurobiological variables and risk-taking during young adulthood. It was expected that authoritarian parenting methods would have adverse effects on young adult behavior by inhibiting maturing cognitive control abilities and exacerbating early developing socioemotional tendencies. Conversely, it was suspected that authoritative parenting would serve as a protective agent against young adult risk-taking by increasing cognitive control abilities and suppressing socioemotional tendencies. Additionally, parental monitoring is a behavior that, depending on context, may serve to either inhibit or exacerbate young adult risk-taking. An online survey was conducted to assess young adults from MTurk. Participants completed a variety of questionnaires regarding parent-child interactions, levels of sensation seeking and self-regulatory abilities, and engagement in risky behavior such as alcohol abuse. In sum, this research may be used to inform parents and caregivers of the influence of parent-child interactions on adolescent and young adult risk-taking.

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