Faculty Biography

Wendy S. Grolnick

Wendy S. Grolnick, Ph.D.

Department of Psychology
Clark University
Worcester, MA 01610-1477

Phone: 508.793.7276
Email: wgrolnick@clarku.edu

Curriculum Vitae
Pressured Parents Website

Dr. Grolnick received a B.A. from Cornell University in 1981, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Rochester in 1984 and 1987, respectively. She has been at Clark since 1991.

Current Research and Teaching

Dr. Grolnick is interested in motivational development in children and adolescents. Her research focuses on how social contexts (e.g., homes, schools) facilitate children's autonomous motivation, in which they regulate their own behavior and feel agentic with respect to it. She is currently exploring how parenting, on dimensions of autonomy support to control, involvement, and structure, predicts children's autonomous motivation, competence, and adjustment. She is also focusing on factors (e.g., parent attitudes and beliefs, stress and support, evaluative environments) that help or hinder parents' abilities to provide parenting resources to their children. Dr. Grolnick is currently developing a parenting intervention designed to prevent motivational and behavioral problems in school-age children. Dr. Grolnick's work has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the William T. Grant Foundation, and the Spencer Foundation. Dr. Grolnick teaches courses in motivation, child development, and psychopathology.

Selected Publications

Selected Recent Articles

Grolnick, W.S., Raftery-Helmer, J.N., Marbell, K., Flamm, E., Cardemil, E.V., & Sanchez, M. (2014). Parental provision of structure:  Implementation, correlates and outcomes in three domains. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 60, 354-385.

Marbell, K., & Grolnick, W.S. (2013). The effects of parental control and autonomy support in an interdependent culture: A look at Ghana. Motivation and Emotion, 37, 79-92.

Mauras, C.E., Grolnick, W.S., & Friendly, R.W. (2013). Time for “The Talk”…Now What? The importance of structure in mother-daughter conversations about sex.  Journal of Early Adolescence, 33, 458-481.

Grolnick, W.S., & Pomerantz, E.M. (2009).  Issues and challenges in studying parental control: Toward a new conceptualization. Child Development Perspectives, 3, 165-170.

Grolnick, W. S., Farkas, M. S., Sohmer, R., Michaels, J., & Valsiner, J. (2007). Facilitating motivation in young adolescents: Effects of an After-School Program. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 28, 332-334.

Grolnick, W. S., Price, C.E., Beiswenger, K., & Sauck, C. C. (2007). Evaluative pressure in parents: Effects of situation, maternal, and child characteristics on autonomy-supportive versus controlling behavior. Developmental Psychology, 43, 991-1002.

Gurland, S. T., & Grolnick, W. S. (2005). Perceived threat, controlling parenting, and children’s achievement orientations. Motivation and Emotion, 29, 103-121.


Grolnick, W. S., & Seal, K. (2008). Pressured parents, stressed-out kids: Dealing with the competition while raising a successful child. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.

Grolnick, W. S. (2003). The psychology of parental control: How well-meant parenting backfires. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.