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Paradoxical Consequences of Prohibitions

Explanations based in attribution theory claim that strong external controls such as parental restrictiveness and punishment undermine moral internalization. In contrast, 3 studies provide evidence that parental punishment does socialize morality, but of a particular sort: a morality focused on proh... Full description

Journal Title: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 2013, Vol.105(2), pp.301-315
Main Author: Sheikh, Sana
Other Authors: Janoff-Bulman, Ronnie
Format: Electronic Article Electronic Article
Language: English
Subjects:
ID: ISSN: 0022-3514 ; E-ISSN: 1939-1315 ; DOI: 10.1037/a0032278
Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/a0032278
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recordid: apa_articles10.1037/a0032278
title: Paradoxical Consequences of Prohibitions
format: Article
creator:
  • Sheikh, Sana
  • Janoff-Bulman, Ronnie
subjects:
  • Morality
  • Self-Regulation
  • Prohibitions
  • Socialization
  • Parental Restrictiveness
  • Ego Depletion
ispartof: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2013, Vol.105(2), pp.301-315
description: Explanations based in attribution theory claim that strong external controls such as parental restrictiveness and punishment undermine moral internalization. In contrast, 3 studies provide evidence that parental punishment does socialize morality, but of a particular sort: a morality focused on prohibitions (i.e., proscriptive orientation) rather than positive obligations (i.e., prescriptive orientation). Study 1 found young adults’ accounts of parental restrictiveness and punishment activated their sensitivity to prohibitions and predicted a proscriptive orientation. Consistent with the greater potency of temptations for proscriptively oriented children, as well as past research linking shame to proscriptive morality, Study 2 found that restrictive parenting was also associated with greater suppression of temptations. Finally, Studies 3A and 3B found that suppressing these immoral thoughts is paradoxically harder for those with strong proscriptive orientations; more specifically, priming a proscriptive (versus prescriptive) orientation and inducing mental suppression of “immoral” thoughts led to the most ego depletion for those with restrictive parents. Overall, individuals who had restrictive parents had the lowest self-regulatory ability to resist their “immoral” temptations after prohibitions were activated. In contrast to common attributional explanations, these studies suggest that harsh external control by parents does not undercut moral socialization but rather undermines individuals’ ability to resist temptation.
language: eng
source:
identifier: ISSN: 0022-3514 ; E-ISSN: 1939-1315 ; DOI: 10.1037/a0032278
fulltext: fulltext
issn:
  • 0022-3514
  • 00223514
  • 1939-1315
  • 19391315
url: Link


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subjectMorality ; Self-Regulation ; Prohibitions ; Socialization ; Parental Restrictiveness ; Ego Depletion
descriptionExplanations based in attribution theory claim that strong external controls such as parental restrictiveness and punishment undermine moral internalization. In contrast, 3 studies provide evidence that parental punishment does socialize morality, but of a particular sort: a morality focused on prohibitions (i.e., proscriptive orientation) rather than positive obligations (i.e., prescriptive orientation). Study 1 found young adults’ accounts of parental restrictiveness and punishment activated their sensitivity to prohibitions and predicted a proscriptive orientation. Consistent with the greater potency of temptations for proscriptively oriented children, as well as past research linking shame to proscriptive morality, Study 2 found that restrictive parenting was also associated with greater suppression of temptations. Finally, Studies 3A and 3B found that suppressing these immoral thoughts is paradoxically harder for those with strong proscriptive orientations; more specifically, priming a proscriptive (versus prescriptive) orientation and inducing mental suppression of “immoral” thoughts led to the most ego depletion for those with restrictive parents. Overall, individuals who had restrictive parents had the lowest self-regulatory ability to resist their “immoral” temptations after prohibitions were activated. In contrast to common attributional explanations, these studies suggest that harsh external control by parents does not undercut moral socialization but rather undermines individuals’ ability to resist temptation.
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descriptionExplanations based in attribution theory claim that strong external controls such as parental restrictiveness and punishment undermine moral internalization. In contrast, 3 studies provide evidence that parental punishment does socialize morality, but of a particular sort: a morality focused on prohibitions (i.e., proscriptive orientation) rather than positive obligations (i.e., prescriptive orientation). Study 1 found young adults’ accounts of parental restrictiveness and punishment activated their sensitivity to prohibitions and predicted a proscriptive orientation. Consistent with the greater potency of temptations for proscriptively oriented children, as well as past research linking shame to proscriptive morality, Study 2 found that restrictive parenting was also associated with greater suppression of temptations. Finally, Studies 3A and 3B found that suppressing these immoral thoughts is paradoxically harder for those with strong proscriptive orientations; more specifically, priming a proscriptive (versus prescriptive) orientation and inducing mental suppression of “immoral” thoughts led to the most ego depletion for those with restrictive parents. Overall, individuals who had restrictive parents had the lowest self-regulatory ability to resist their “immoral” temptations after prohibitions were activated. In contrast to common attributional explanations, these studies suggest that harsh external control by parents does not undercut moral socialization but rather undermines individuals’ ability to resist temptation.
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abstractExplanations based in attribution theory claim that strong external controls such as parental restrictiveness and punishment undermine moral internalization. In contrast, 3 studies provide evidence that parental punishment does socialize morality, but of a particular sort: a morality focused on prohibitions (i.e., proscriptive orientation) rather than positive obligations (i.e., prescriptive orientation). Study 1 found young adults’ accounts of parental restrictiveness and punishment activated their sensitivity to prohibitions and predicted a proscriptive orientation. Consistent with the greater potency of temptations for proscriptively oriented children, as well as past research linking shame to proscriptive morality, Study 2 found that restrictive parenting was also associated with greater suppression of temptations. Finally, Studies 3A and 3B found that suppressing these immoral thoughts is paradoxically harder for those with strong proscriptive orientations; more specifically, priming a proscriptive (versus prescriptive) orientation and inducing mental suppression of “immoral” thoughts led to the most ego depletion for those with restrictive parents. Overall, individuals who had restrictive parents had the lowest self-regulatory ability to resist their “immoral” temptations after prohibitions were activated. In contrast to common attributional explanations, these studies suggest that harsh external control by parents does not undercut moral socialization but rather undermines individuals’ ability to resist temptation.
pubAmerican Psychological Association
doi10.1037/a0032278
date2013-08