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Title:"Daddy's Girl" and "Big Man on Campus:" Turning Points in the Development of Parent-Adolescent Relationships
Author(s):Ramey, Mary E.
Director of Research:Caughlin, John P.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Caughlin, John P.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Clark, Ruth Anne; Knobloch, Leanne K.; Hardesty, Jennifer L.; Brashers, Dale E.
Department / Program:Communication
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Turning points
Parent-adolescent relationships
Abstract:Both the overall quality of parent-adolescent relationships and the changes that occur in parent-child relationships during adolescence have implications for adolescents’ overall adjustment and well-being. Developing autonomy from their parents is one outcome that children negotiate during adolescence. The focus of this study is how parent-adolescent communication functions to optimize adolescent individuation from their parents. The Retrospective Interview Technique (RIT) was used with 31 adolescents to explore the types of turning points they reported experiencing and the developmental trajectories of their relationships with their parents. Participants were also asked to describe how different turning points influenced changes in their autonomy with their parents and how communication with their parents was associated with various turning points. Participants reported 12 categories of turning points, of which ‘moving away from home,’ ‘realizations about parents,’ and ‘new relationships’ were the most frequent. Seven trajectory types emerged from the data, with the stagnating-linear trajectory reported by most participants. Previous studies have defined autonomy development as a linear process in that adolescents gain more autonomy as they age. In the current study, autonomy followed different pathways. Some of those pathways were linear, but some were not linear. The turning points that participants discussed were both turning points they negotiated with their parents and turning points that happened to them. These findings are discussed from a multiple goals perspective. A multiple goals perspective highlights the idea that as parents and adolescents move towards more autonomy, that task is made challenging by other salient identity and relationship goals. From a normative perspective, it is useful to know about the likelihood for identity and relational goals to conflict with autonomy development negotiations because it provides an example of the kinds of challenges that parents and adolescents face.
Issue Date:2011-01-14
Rights Information:Copyright 2010 Mary E. Ramey
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-01-14
Date Deposited:December 2

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