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J Adolesc. 2011 Apr;34(2):361-70. doi: 10.1016/j.adolescence.2010.04.002. Epub 2010 May 11.

Early, on-time, and late behavioural autonomy in adolescence: psychosocial correlates in young and middle adulthood.

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Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Russian Federation.


Drawing on two nationally representative German studies (N(1) = 1744, N(2) = 759), we examined correlates of early, on-time, and late curfew autonomy, a retrospective indicator of behavioural autonomy, in young and middle adulthood (19-37 years of age). Adjustment in four domains was considered: educational attainment, externalizing problem behaviour, subjective well-being, and interpersonal relationships. The early group showed lower adjustment in multiple domains across young and middle adulthood. The late group reported a mixed pattern of adjustment at younger ages (lower externalizing problems, but lower positive affect, lower importance of peers, and lower likelihood to have a partner) and positive adjustment in all domains at older ages. Timing effects were controlled for sociodemographic characteristics and retrospective measures of early adversities, pubertal timing, disclosure to parents, and peer group affiliation in adolescence. Findings show that late behavioural autonomy in its correlates is not simply the opposite of early behavioural autonomy.

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