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Globally, human relationships have remained a major topic of attention especially in research. These relationships begin within small units called families and spread out to include everyone around the world in their day-to-day affairs. From the small family units, parents adopt various approaches towards the upbringing of their children. These approaches are called parenting styles by social scientists. Research over the years has explored how these these various approaches to parents impact different aspects of behavior to arrive at varying results. In general, parenting style has been shown to have roles to play in the behaviours or behavioural tendencies of individuals over time.

Darling and Steinberg (1993) defined parenting style as a global climate involving family functioning and entailing the process of child-rearing. They conceptualized the parenting styles as a constellation of attitudes toward the child that are communicated to the child, and that, taken together, create an emotional climate in which the parents’ behaviours are expressed.  What children learn and how they react in certain situation is affected by their relationships with parents and parenting styles and behaviour (Collins & Laursen, 1999). The term parenting is generally used to explain how a child’s behaviour and development is influenced by their parents (Bornstein, 2002). By implication, the development of an individual is largely tied to their upbringing.

Social intelligence is another construct that has been a focus of several psychological research. This construct has been defined to mean an individual’s ability to understand and manage interpersonal relationships, understand, act on, regulate or control the feelings, thoughts and behaviour of other people (Baumrind, 1991). Thorndike (1920) postulated a framework of human intelligence differentiating between ideas, objects, and people as the contents that human intellect has to deal with. In other words, he discriminated between academic, mechanical, and social intelligence.

            In this framework, Thorndike (1920) defined the latter as “the ability to understand and manage men and women, boys and girls, and to act wisely in human relations”. Thorndike’s idea of social intelligence is still fundamental to, and even more extensive than, any other given definition. Indeed, most contemporary research efforts appear to cite (and subsequently rely) on this definition when examining the concept of social intelligence. Notably, his distinction between cognitive (i.e., understand other people) and behavioral (i.e., to act wisely in human relations) components has been specified in only one other definition of social intelligence. Thus, Vernon (1933) defined social intelligence as “knowledge of social matters and insight into the moods or personality traits of strangers” (cognition) and as the ability to “get along with others and ease in society” (behavior). Other definitions focus either on cognitive or behavioral aspects. Some of these definitions, along with their chief protagonists, are listed as follows: “the ability to get along with others” (Moss & Hunt, 1927); “judge correctly the feelings, moods, and motivation of individuals” (Wedeck, 1947,); ” ability to judge people with respect to feelings, motives, thoughts, intentions, attitudes, etc.” (O’Sullivan et al.,1965) “individuals fund of knowledge about the social world” (Cantor & Kihlstrom,1987).

             Body Image perception is also a popular construct in psychology. It generally could mean an individual’s perception of his personal appearance and body size and shape (Menshar, 2005).In Psychology, body image perception is defined to mean an individual’s perception, thoughts and feelings of himself. Body image is a multidimensional, subjective and dynamic concept that encompasses a person’s perceptions, thoughts, and feelings about his or her body. Body image is not limited to the aesthetic characteristics of the person, taking also into consideration his or her state of health, skills, and sexuality. It is an important construct which has link to so many other psychological constructs such as emotional intelligence, self-esteem, self-efficacy, occupational stress, perceived quality of life satisfaction amongst others. Most modern society puts a strong emphasis on physical appearance. People who are deemed attractive are often viewed more favorably than unattractive people. They are thought to be smarter, and more commendable than their less attractive peers. This assumption is called the halo effect (Thorndike, 1920); people who are rated highly on one dimension (attractiveness) are assumed to excel on others as well (intelligence). This is also referred to as the “what-is-beautiful-is-good” stereotype (Solomon, Zaichkowsky, & Polegato, 2005). In our society, attractiveness is associated with being thin for women, whereas a more muscular appearance is considered attractive for men. Appearance ideals are often unattainable for the average person, and may be becoming more difficult to meet as the population is becoming heavier (Statistics Canada, 2002).

            Parenting styles can have a significant impact on a child’s development, including their social intelligence. Social intelligence refers to a person’s ability to understand and navigate social interactions effectively. Different parenting styles can influence the development of social intelligence in various ways. Here are some links between parenting styles and social intelligence:

            Authoritative Parenting Style: This parenting style is characterized by high levels of warmth, responsiveness, and support, combined with reasonable levels of discipline and expectations. Children raised by authoritative parents tend to develop strong social intelligence. They are more likely to have good social skills, empathy, and self-control. This is because authoritative parents provide a nurturing and supportive environment while also setting clear boundaries and expectations for their children.

            Authoritarian Parenting Style: Authoritarian parenting is characterized by strict rules, high expectations, and little flexibility. This parenting style can have a negative impact on social intelligence. Children raised by authoritarian parents may struggle with social interactions and have difficulty understanding the emotions and perspectives of others. They may also exhibit lower levels of self-esteem and struggle with assertiveness in social situations.

            Permissive Parenting Style: Permissive parenting is characterized by low levels of discipline and high levels of warmth and indulgence. While permissive parenting can create a positive and nurturing environment, it may not provide enough structure and guidance for the development of social intelligence. Children raised in permissive environments may have difficulty understanding boundaries, following rules, and regulating their own behavior in social settings.

            Neglectful Parenting Style: Neglectful parenting involves a lack of responsiveness, support, and involvement in a child’s life. This parenting style can have detrimental effects on social intelligence. Children raised by neglectful parents may struggle with forming and maintaining relationships, have difficulty recognizing social cues, and exhibit emotional and behavioral problems in social interactions.

            It is important to note that these are general patterns, and individual differences exist within each parenting style. Moreover, social intelligence is influenced by various factors, including genetics, culture, peer relationships, and other environmental factors. Parenting style is just one aspect that can shape social intelligence but not the sole determining factor.

            Parenting style can significantly impact a child’s body image perception and overall self-esteem. The way parents interact with and raise their children can influence their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors related to their bodies. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach, various parenting styles have been identified and linked to body image perception in research. It is important to note that these parenting styles are not mutually exclusive, and parents may exhibit characteristics of more than one style. Here are some commonly studied parenting styles and their potential effects on body image perception:

            Authoritative Parenting Style: This style is characterized by high levels of warmth, support, and responsiveness combined with clear expectations and boundaries. Authoritative parents encourage independence, self-expression, and open communication. Research suggests that children raised by authoritative parents tend to have healthier body image perceptions, higher self-esteem, and lower levels of body dissatisfaction.

            Authoritarian Parenting Style: In contrast to authoritative parenting, authoritarian parenting is characterized by strict rules, high control, and low levels of warmth and responsiveness. Authoritarian parents often emphasize obedience and conformity. Studies have found that children raised in authoritarian households may be more prone to negative body image perceptions, higher levels of body dissatisfaction, and increased risk of disordered eating behaviors.

            Permissive Parenting Style: Permissive parenting is characterized by low control and few demands, with parents being highly indulgent and lenient. These parents may avoid setting clear boundaries and may prioritize their children’s immediate happiness over long-term well-being. Research suggests that children raised in permissive households may have higher levels of body dissatisfaction, lower self-esteem, and a greater risk of engaging in unhealthy weight control behaviors.

            Neglectful/Uninvolved Parenting Style: Neglectful or uninvolved parenting is characterized by a lack of emotional involvement, responsiveness, and support. These parents may be indifferent to their children’s needs and provide minimal guidance and attention. Children raised in neglectful environments may experience higher levels of body dissatisfaction, lower self-esteem, and an increased risk of developing disordered eating patterns.

It’s important to note that these links between parenting styles and body image perception are not deterministic, and other factors, such as peer influence, media exposure, and genetic predispositions, can also contribute to a child’s body image. However, parenting style plays a crucial role in shaping a child’s overall development, including their body image perception and self-esteem. Parents who promote positive body image and self-acceptance through supportive and nurturing interactions can help foster healthy body image perceptions in their children.


            Parenting style has been shown to affect different aspect of individuals’ lives. Psychologists have proposed several theories of individual development which describe the various stages through which an individual progress biologically and psychologically following success or failure at each stage of development at each stage. When adolescents go through puberty, they become more self-conscious about their changing physical appearance and research suggests that parenting style and social intelligence determines whether their body image perception will be positive or negative. In Nigeria today, female adolescents are constantly lacking confidence, dress indecently, indulge in drugs addiction and are prone to depression due to low self- esteem. This is due to poor parenting style or parent up-bringing. When all these happen it can lead to social vices like, stealing, prostitution, suicide or murder as the case may be.

            Instagram is more image-based than other platforms, such as Facebook (Verduyn, Ybarra, Résibois, Jonides, & Kross, 2017), thereby providing more opportunities to compare oneself to others physically (Fardouly &Vartanian, 2016). People tend to present highly positive pictures and ‘stories’ of themselves on Instagram (Vogel & Rose, 2016), which can have a negative impact on adolescent’s physical self-esteem through comparison of one’s own physical appearance with these idealized images (Kleemans, Daalmans, Carbaat, &Anschütz, 2018).

            Parents in a study that explored the interaction between parental and peer relationships with body satisfaction Holsen et al. (2012) found that good quality relationships with parents and peers were associated with higher body satisfaction whereas poor quality relationships with parents and peers were associated with lower body satisfaction. The quality of these relationships also predicted body satisfaction over time, with individuals who had good quality relationships in childhood also experiencing higher body satisfaction in adulthood.    Many authors highlight the importance of the role of parents when considering any attempts to improve body image amongst young people. Mothers and fathers are able to influence body image in positive directions through words of encouragement and negative directions through criticism (Rodgers et al., 2009). This is especially the case for girls (Crespo et al., 2010; van den Berg et al., 2010). Parents are also able to influence the body satisfaction of their children by acting as role models.

            This research therefore sought to understand the role of parenting style on social intelligence and body image perception among female adolescents.


The study seeks to fulfill the following objectives.

  1. To assess the impact of Responsive parenting style on the social intelligence of female adolescents in Jos
  2. To assess the impact of Autonomy granting parenting style on the social intelligence of female adolescents in Jos
  3. To assess the impact of Demandingness parenting style on the social intelligence of female adolescents in Jos
  4. To assess the impact of Responsive parenting style on body image perception of female adolescents in Jos.
  5. To assess the impact of Autonomy granting parenting style on body image perception of female adolescents in Jos.
  6. To assess the impact of Demandingness parenting style on body image perception of female adolescents in Jos.

            Psychological research has shown that individuals suffer certain maladaptive behaviours as a result of crises arising from growth and development. Also, there has been evidence to support that social intelligence as well as body image perception have diverse effects on the life of an individual.

            Social intelligence and body image can both have significant effects on adults, influencing various aspects of their lives, relationships, and overall well-being. Here are some potential effects of social intelligence and body image on adults:

Effects of social intelligence:

            Improved Interpersonal Relationships: Socially intelligent individuals tend to have better interpersonal skills, such as effective communication, empathy, and understanding of social cues. These skills can lead to more satisfying and fulfilling relationships with others, including friends, romantic partners, and colleagues.

            Enhanced Emotional Intelligence: Social intelligence often overlaps with emotional intelligence, which involves recognizing, understanding, and managing emotions in oneself and others. Adults with higher social intelligence may have better emotional regulation, empathy, and conflict resolution skills, leading to healthier and more harmonious relationships.

Career Advancement: Social intelligence can be advantageous in professional settings. Individuals with strong social skills are often better equipped to navigate workplace dynamics, build professional networks, and collaborate effectively with colleagues. These qualities can contribute to career advancement opportunities and success.

Improved Leadership Abilities: Socially intelligent adults may exhibit strong leadership qualities, as they can understand and navigate group dynamics, communicate effectively with team members, and inspire and motivate others. These skills are valuable in leadership positions, enabling them to build cohesive teams and drive collective achievements.

Effects of body image:

Self-Esteem and Self-Confidence: Body image, which refers to how individuals perceive and feel about their physical appearance, can significantly impact self-esteem and self-confidence. Adults who have a positive body image tend to have higher levels of self-esteem, feeling more comfortable and accepting of their bodies. Conversely, negative body image can contribute to low self-esteem and reduced self-confidence.

            Mental Health and Well-being: Body image concerns, such as body dissatisfaction or preoccupation with perceived flaws, can be linked to mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. Adults who struggle with negative body image may experience higher levels of psychological distress and a diminished overall sense of well-being.

Relationship Satisfaction: Body image can influence romantic relationships, affecting both individual well-being and relationship dynamics. Adults who have a positive body image may feel more comfortable and confident in intimate relationships, fostering greater satisfaction and intimacy. Conversely, negative body image can contribute to relationship insecurities and difficulties with intimacy.

            Health Behaviors: Body image perceptions can influence health-related behaviors. Adults with positive body image are more likely to engage in behaviors that promote their physical and mental well-being, such as practicing balanced nutrition, engaging in regular physical activity, and seeking healthcare when needed. Conversely, negative body image may lead to unhealthy behaviors like extreme dieting, excessive exercise, or avoidance of certain social situations.

It’s important to recognize that social intelligence and body image are complex constructs that can be influenced by a range of factors, including upbringing, cultural influences, personal experiences, and societal pressures. Supporting positive body image and fostering social intelligence can contribute to healthier and more fulfilling lives for adults.

It is therefore imperative to establish the role of parenting styles on these variables as confirmatory studies and in the act, propose approaches towards improving the lives of individuals affected by these constructs especially as it concerns female adolescents. The result of this study will be useful for recommending approaches to helping female adolescents develop skills to overcome negative body image perceptions as well as ways of improving parent-adolescent relations


Parenting Style

Parenting style refers to a constellation of attitudes toward the child that are communicated to the child and that, taken together, create an emotional climate in which the parents’ behaviors are expressed (Darling and Steinberg, 1993). The main difference between Parenting style and parenting practices is that parenting practices are directed towards particular goals such as encouraging academic achievement, while parenting style refers to the overall emotional climate in which particular parent-child interactions occur. Darling and Steinberg identified three parenting styles as demandingness, responsiveness, and autonomy-granting, described as the approaches through which this parent-child relationship occurs.

Demandingness: According to Darling and Steinberg, demandingness as a parenting style involves the parent’s willingness to act as an agent of socialization. Parents who adopt this style of parenting place their children under close watch. They set rules; make demands of what is expected of the children and provide punishment in case of disobedience. These parents serve as a manual to their children by ensuring the children follow set down (usually strict) rules, or that children are punished in case of disobedience, failure or non-compliance. Baumrind, 1991’s description of an authoritarian parenting style fits into the deamandingness parenting style of Darling and Steinberg in that both parents are higly demanding and directive, but not responsive.

Responsiveness: Under this style of parenting, the parent recognizes the child’s individuality.

The parent avails the child the opportunity to make his/her own choices. Here, there are little or no rules. The parent only serves as a guide and assists the child reach their full potential. Parents who adopt this parenting approach spend time with their children, assisting them and doing fun things together. As opposed to Demandingness, parents who practice responsiveness style of parenting are more like friends to their children than a figure of authority. Responsive parents are more responsive than they are demanding. They are lenient, do not require mature behaviour, and avoid confronting their wards. This parenting style is similar to the indulgent or permissive parenting style of Baumrind, 1991 in that they share similar qualities.

Autonomy Granting

Under this style of parenting, the child has the freedom to live his/her life. Here, the parent considers the child as autonomous and thus the child is allowed to live as such. The parent is almost completely absent from the affairs of the child. There is no supervision from the parent, no rules on how to live and no punishments for failure to achieve goals. This style of parenting is similar to ‘univolved parenting’ projected by Baumrind, 1991 in that just like autonomy granting parents, uninvolved parents are low in both responsiveness and demandingness. In extreme cases, this parenting style might encompass both rejecting-neglecting and neglectful parenting (Baumrind, 1991).

Body Image Perception

            The ‘body image’ generally incorporates two themes.  Firstly, body perception which is an individual’s assessment of the physical aspects of their body and the extent to which this assessment is accurate. In extreme cases individuals suffer from body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), a psychological disorder related to eating disorders whereby individuals have very inaccurate perceptions of their body size (Sujoldzić & De Lucia, 2007). Second is body satisfaction. This is the extent to which an individual is content with their body size and shape. Incorporated into this theme are terms such as body confidence, body esteem, and body dissatisfaction.   The term ‘body image’ can therefore refer to either body perception or body satisfaction. This rapid evidence assessment will use the same terms as those found in the literature, moving from body image to body satisfaction to body perception as a reflection of the terms used in the research papers that are being discussed. Where necessary clarification will be given as to whether the paper is discussing body perception or body satisfaction.  Most of the literature on body image is focused on whole body size, shape and satisfaction.  Consequently, most of the research focuses on body weight, body mass, muscle mass, or overall body satisfaction rather than specific areas of the body such as skin tone, facial features, body hair, or other aspects of appearance.


Baumrind’s Parenting Styles Theory:

            Baumrind’s theory, developed by psychologist Diana Baumrind in the 1960s, identified three main parenting styles: authoritative, authoritarian, and permissive. This theory suggests that these parenting styles differ in their levels of demandingness (control) and responsiveness (warmth and support). Baumrind’s theory has been widely influential and is often referenced in research on parenting styles.

Maccoby and Martin’s Parenting Styles Theory:

            Maccoby and Martin expanded upon Baumrind’s theory and proposed a fourth parenting style called uninvolved or neglectful parenting. They argued that this style involves low levels of both demandingness and responsiveness. Maccoby and Martin’s theory emphasizes the importance of the parent-child relationship and the impact of parenting on child outcomes.


            Social intelligence is a complex construct that encompasses the ability to understand and navigate social interactions, interpret social cues, and effectively communicate with others. While there isn’t a single comprehensive theory of social intelligence, several theoretical perspectives have contributed to our understanding of this concept. Here are two prominent theories of social intelligence:

Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences:

            Howard Gardner proposed a theory of multiple intelligences, which suggests that intelligence is not a unitary concept but consists of various independent domains. One of these domains is interpersonal intelligence, which relates to understanding and interacting effectively with others. According to Gardner, individuals with high interpersonal intelligence possess skills such as empathy, sensitivity to others’ emotions, and the ability to establish rapport and navigate social situations successfully.

Social Information Processing Theory:

            Social Information Processing (SIP) theory, developed by Joseph Walther, focuses on how individuals perceive and process social information in computer-mediated communication (CMC) contexts. It emphasizes the role of cognitive processes in social interactions. According to SIP theory, social intelligence involves the ability to accurately interpret and understand social cues in online environments, as well as adapt one’s behavior accordingly. This theory explores how individuals form impressions, make attributions, and engage in relational development through CMC.


Sociocultural Theory:

            The sociocultural theory, proposed by Thompson, Heinberg, Altabe, and Tantleff-Dunn, suggests that body image perception is shaped by societal and cultural influences. This theory emphasizes that individuals develop their body image ideals and evaluate their own bodies based on societal standards and cultural messages. Media representations, societal norms, and cultural values play a significant role in shaping body image perceptions. The sociocultural theory highlights the role of social comparison and internalization of beauty ideals in the development of body dissatisfaction.

Objectification Theory:

            Objectification theory, developed by Fredrickson and Roberts, posits that societal objectification of women’s bodies contributes to body image concerns. This theory suggests that women are often viewed and treated as objects to be evaluated based on appearance. This objectification leads to self-objectification, where individuals internalize an observer’s perspective and adopt an external focus on their physical appearance. Self-objectification is associated with body dissatisfaction, appearance-related anxiety, and disordered eating behaviors.

            On a general note, the growing autonomy which require in relation to nature has become evident during the last century. As pointed out by David Le Breton, (2012). ‘Liberation of the body ‘involved cultivating a pleasant, attractive appearance (through diet, cosmetics, plastic surgery), setting new limits to the physical effort (via body building), and the much-awaited control of reproduction (by means of the contraceptive pill, abortion, maternity delegation). It was not long before the increasingly common resort to cosmetic corrections, the large scale use of drugs (diuretics and vomitives for weight control purposes; steroids to increase muscle mass), and the widespread eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, compulsive eating) came to the attention of academics who tried to understand both the underlying reasons for those body practices and their health consequences. The concept of body image investigated before by Paul Schilder (2011), only with reference to the distorted perceptions of the body caused by a brain injury) has been the subject of numerous approaches coming from psychology, sociology and gender studies. Sociologists are particularly interested in the cultural relativity of the beauty norms (polemizing with the evolutionary psychologists), while the contribution of gender studies lies in denouncing the weight and shape ideals as products of phallocracy.

According to Mayer & Salovey, (1997) emotional intelligence can be described as an ability to monitor one’s own as well as others’ emotions and to differentiate several emotions and label them accordingly, and to guide one’s thoughts and responses according to the perceived emotional information. Some of the components involved in emotional intelligence are perceiving, understanding, using and managing emotions. These components are inter-related and they are such abilities which can be arranged in hierarchical order where major psychological processes i.e., perceiving emotions can be used as a foundation of the model and much more sophisticated processes like reflective and conscious regulation of emotions constitutes the top of the model (Mayer & Salovey, 1997). The patterns of emotional intelligence greatly influenced the communication skills (Cherry, Fletcher, & O’Sullivan, 2013), job satisfaction (Weng et al., 2011), academic and clinical performance (Austin, Evans, Goldwater, & Potter, 2005).

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