This study was designed to investigate adolescent era parent behaviors and adolescent personality development as unique and joint predictors of young adult competencies. The study sample consisted of 79 two-parent with an adolescentfamilies who, at the time the data used in these analyses were gathered, had beenfollowed in longitudinal research for 11 years. Parent behaviors theoretically associated with (a) the development of adolescent autonomy while maintaining relatedness to the family (Autonomy and Relatedness Coding) and (b) adolescent ego development (Constraining and Enabling Coding) were used to predict young adult educational attainment and ego resiliency. Results indicated that (a) adolescent era parenting behaviors and (b) adolescent ego development contribute to the prediction of young adult educational attainment and ego resiliency. The influence of parenting behaviors was mediated through ego development. Parent talkativeness and parent behavior interacted in the prediction of ego resiliency.
This study examined the extent to which the diverging pathways taken by adolescents and their parents in establishing autonomy and relatedness in their interactions at age 14 served as stage-specific markers of underlying attachment processes that could help predict states of mind regarding attachment of the adolescents 11 years later as young adults. Adolescents in two-parent families (N=73) and their parents, originally selected from either a high school sample or a psychiatrically hospitalized sample, participated in a revealed differences family interaction task when adolescents were 14 years of age. At age 25, subjects were reinterviewed using the Adult Attachment Interview, which yielded ratings of specific states of mind and overall organization of models of attachment relationships. After accounting for the prior psychiatric history of the sample (which was highly related to attachment insecurity) and global indices of functioning in both adolescence and young adulthood, coherence/ security in adults' states of mind regarding attachment was predicted from maternal behaviors promoting adolescent autonomy and relatedness 11 years earlier. One indicator of adult preoccupation with attachment relationships, passivity of thought processes, was predicted from adolescents' autonomy-inhibiting behaviors, specifically from the presence of enmeshing behaviors and the absence of distancing behaviors. Results are interpreted as suggesting that establishing autonomy and relatedness with parents may be an attachment-related, developmental task for both normal and at-risk adolescents, and that serious psychopathology and difficulties establishing autonomy and relatedness in adolescence may represent two independent pathways to insecure attachment models in young adulthood.
This study examined long-term sequelae of severe adolescent psychopathology from the perspective of adult attachment theory. The study compared 66 upper-middle-class adolescents who were psychiatrically hospitalized at age 14 for problems other than thought or organic disorders, to 76 sociodemographically similar high school students. When reinterviewed at age 25, virtually all of the previously hospitalized adolescents displayed insecure attachment organizations, in contrast to a more typical mixture of security and insecurity in the former high school sample. Lack of resolution of previous trauma with attachment figures accounted for much of this insecurity. Insecurity in adult attachment organization at age 25 was also linked to self-reported criminal behavior and use of hard drugs in young adulthood. These findings are discussed as reflecting a substantial and enduring connection between attachment organization and severe adolescent psychopathology and a possible role of attachment organization in mediating some of the long-term sequelae of such psychopathology.
This study examined the link between hostile conflict in families with adolescents and adolescents' efforts to establish autonomy and relatedness in interactions with parents in both normal and psychiatrically impaired groups. Longitudinal, observational data were obtained by coding family interaction tasks involving 53 adolescents and their two parents at age 14 and age 16 years. Measures were obtained for hostile adolescent-parent conflict, hostile marital conflict, and indices of adolescents' success or difficultly in establishing autonomy and relatedness in interactions with parents. Relative increases in adolescent-parent hostile conflict from age 14 to 16 years were predicted by adolescents' behaviors actively undermining autonomy in disagreements with parents at age 14 years. Hostile marital conflict observed by the adolescent at age 14 years predicted adolescent withdrawal from the hostile parent over time, a prediction that was not mediated by observed parenting behaviors. Difficulties in establishing autonomy and relatedness were linked to prior history of psychiatric difficulty. A developmental view of conflict as both reflecting and predicting difficulties in adolescents' establishing autonomy and relatedness in interactions with parents is proposed.
This study explored adolescents' developmental strivings for autonomy and relatedness as motivations in socialproblem-solving competence, and the relevance of those strivings to explaining variation in delinquent activity. Eighty African American and Caucasian male adolescents (11 through 18 years of age) at high riskfor delinquency provided their likely strategies for resolving hypothetical interpersonal dilemmas. Strategies reflecting relatedness striving and autonomous-related reasoning were correlated positively with social problem solving and academic competence. Acts of delinquency were more frequent among adolescents whose strategies showed little relatedness striving, combined with lackof understanding that relationships can support bothautonomy and relatedness. These findings support the view that motivations to establish autonomy while maintaining relationships characterize important dimensions of adolescent social competence and may help enhance knowledge of adolescent problem behaviors. Recommendations for prevention and intervention efforts include increased attention to providing settings that facilitate positive expressions of developmental needs for autonomy and relatedness.
This study explored developmentally salient cognitive and emotional facets of personality during adolescence and their contribution to psychological functioning in young adulthood. Specifically, we examined the of relations among two kinds of actual-ideal self-discrepancies, expressed negative emotions, and self-dissatisfaction during midadolescence and assessed their longitudinal contribution to young adult symptoms of hostility and depression, as well as self-worth. We drew upon a dataset that included both a group of youngsters who had been psychiatrically hospitalized at age 14 and a normative comparison group of high school students studied over an 11-year period. Findings demonstrated that the magnitude of particular actual-ideal discrepancies, expressed negative emotions, and self-dissatisfaction differed between the groups. Contrary to expectation, actual-ideal self-discrepancies were not related to expressed negative emotions during midadolescence. For the psychiatric group, however, both self-discrepancies and expressed negative emotions made unique contributions to individuals' general sense of self-dissatisfaction. Moreover, particular types of actual-ideal self-discrepancies, specific expressed emotions, and self-dissatisfaction differentially predicted symptoms of hostility and depression, as well as diminished self-worth in young adulthood, albeit differently for the two groups. The importance of cognitions and emotions in the course diverse developmental pathways and future directions of the study are discussed.