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J Youth Adolesc. 2009 Jan;38(1):75-88. doi: 10.1007/s10964-008-9286-7. Epub 2008 Mar 18.

Developmental changes in adolescents' perceptions of relationships with their parents.

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  • 1Research Centre Adolescent Development, Utrecht University, 3508 TC, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


This 4-wave longitudinal study examines developmental changes in adolescents' perceptions of parent-adolescent relationships by assessing parental support, conflict with parents, and parental power. A total of 951 early adolescents (50.4% boys) and 390 middle adolescents (43.3% boys) participated. Univariate and multivariate growth curve analyses showed that support declined from early to middle adolescence for boys and girls and increased from middle to late adolescence for girls, while stabilizing for boys. Conflict was found to temporarily increase during middle adolescence. Parental power (relative power and dominance of parents) decreased from early to late adolescence. Results indicated that: (1) parent-adolescent relationships become more egalitarian during adolescence, (2) parents perceived by adolescents as powerful are viewed as supportive, especially in early adolescence, and (3) perceived conflict with parents is related to but not an impetus for changes in parent-adolescent relationships towards more equality.

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