Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Cheryl B McNeil


The aim of the present study was to improve definitions of parental monitoring constructs by reducing the domain of content from which researchers have sampled in previous investigations. For example, between the years of 1991 and 2007 researchers developed at least 49 different parental monitoring scales comprised of a total of 310 questions or items. Visual inspection of these scales as well as thorough review of the parental monitoring literature suggested that researchers primarily were interested in assessing five domains of content (the sum of which is described as parental monitoring). These five domains of content are (1) adolescent perceptions of parental monitoring knowledge, (2) parental behavioral control, (3) parental psychological control, (4) parent-adolescent relationship quality, and (5) parent-adolescent communication. Three exploratory hypotheses were posited for the present investigation. First, it was hypothesized that five empirically derived factors would adequately represent the five domains of content. Second, it was hypothesized that the factors would be conceptually distinct, yet moderately correlated. Third, it was hypothesized that the adolescent-driven practice of self-disclosure to parents would be subsumed by a parent-adolescent communication factor. To test these hypotheses, a sample of 320 college undergraduate students provided retrospective accounts of their parental monitoring experiences as assessed by the pool of 310 parental monitoring questions. Results of exploratory factor analysis showed that seven factors accounted for 66% of the variance in the observed data. In spite of identifying seven factors instead of five, inspection of the questions subsumed by the seven factors showed that the seven factors mapped onto the five domains of content. The seven factors did show moderate intercorrelations as well as a pattern of convergent correlations with a well-validated measure of parent-adolescent communication. Contrary to expectations, adolescent self-disclosure to parents was subsumed by a parental monitoring knowledge factor rather than a parent-adolescent communication factor. The partial support for the three exploratory hypotheses was discussed according to models of human development that emphasize research strategies sensitive to person, process, context, and time.