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Psychol Bull. 1991 Jul;110(1):47-66.

Do parent-child relationships change during puberty?

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  • 1Educational Testing Service, Princeton, New Jersey 08541.


This article reviews changes in parent-child relationships during puberty, emphasizing the developmental processes that might be implicated in these changes. Evidence suggests increases in conflict and less warm interactions in relationships between parents and children during puberty. Changes are assumed to be short term, although little longitudinal research has directly addressed the issue of long-lasting effects. Other developmental changes occurring for the adolescent, the parent, or both (such as social cognitive or self-definitional change), as well as other relationship changes, personality characteristics, and the sheer number of life events or transitions have all been posited as potential contributors to changes in the parent-child relationship for young adolescents. These possible contributors, however, have seldom been studied in conjunction with pubertal changes. Such integrative research is necessary to test various models through which puberty, social relationships, social cognitive, self-definitional, and other processes influence one another and are influenced by one another during the transition to adolescence.

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