Being the recipient of favored parental treatment has been identified as a correlate of enhanced socioemotional well-being. However, knowledge of children's perceptions of the legitimacy of preferential treatment may provide a more complete understanding of associations between preferential treatment and children's socioemotional well-being. The current study investigated whether children's well-being varies in accordance with their views about the fairness of preferential parental treatment. One hundred thirty-five children (M = 11.74 years) and their older siblings (M = 14.64 years) were interviewed independently about parents' distribution of affection and control. Although the amount of preferential control children reported experiencing was related to more externalizing behavior problems, lower levels of internalizing behavior problems and greater global self-esteem were indicated when children perceived that such preferential behaviors were fair.
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