Observed parent–adolescent autonomy struggles were assessed as potential predictors of the development of peer-rated hostility over a decade later in young adulthood in both normal and previously psychiatrically hospitalized groups of adolescents. Longitudinal, multireporter data were obtained by coding family interactions involving 83 adolescents and their parents at age 16 years and then obtaining ratings by close friends of adolescents’ hostility at age 25 years. Fathers’ behavior undermining adolescents’ autonomy in interactions at age 16 years were predictive of adolescentsas-young-adults’ hostility, as rated by close friends at age 25 years. These predictions contributed additional variance to understanding young adult hostility even after accounting for concurrent levels of adolescent hostility at age 16 years and paternal hostility at this age, each of which also significantly contributed to predicting future hostility. Results are discussed as highlighting a pathway by which difficulties attaining autonomy in adolescence may presage the development of long-term difficulties in social functioning.
This study examined adolescent attachment organization as a predictor of the development of social skills and delinquent behavior during midadolescence. Delinquent activity and skill levels were assessed for 117 moderately at-risk adolescents at ages 16 and 18, and maternal and adolescent attachment organization and autonomy in interactions were assessed at age 16. Adolescent attachment security predicted relative increases in social skills from age 16 to 18, whereas an insecure–preoccupied attachment organization predicted increasing delinquency during this period. In addition, preoccupied teens interacting with highly autonomous mothers showed greater relative decreases in skill levels and increases in delinquent activity over time, suggesting a heightened risk for deviance among preoccupied teens who may be threatened by growing autonomy in adolescent– parent interactions.
Relationship schemas are core elements of personality that guide interpersonal functioning. The aim of this study is to examine stability and change in relationship schemas across two developmental epochs—adolescence and young adulthood—in the stories that people tell about their interactions with others. Using the Core Conflictual Relationship Theme Method, relationship themes were coded from semistructured interviews conducted in adolescence and again at age 25. The sample consisted of 40 participants in a longitudinal study of adolescent and young adult psychological development. There was considerable stability in the frequency with which particular themes were expressed in the narratives of adolescents and young adults. Significant changes from adolescence to young adulthood included a decrease in the perception of others as rejecting and of the self as opposing others. Young adults saw themselves and others more positively, and used a broader repertoire of themes in their relationship narratives than they had as adolescents. The basic continuity and particular changes in relationship schemas found in this study are consistent with knowledge about the adolescent-to-young-adult transition derived from other empirical and clinical findings. Relationship schemas may be rich units of study for learning about the development of interpersonal functioning.