Sociocultural Perspectives on Adolescent Autonomy

Kathleen Boykin McElhaney and Joseph P. Allen

in Adolescence and Beyond

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199736546
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932443 | DOI:
Sociocultural Perspectives on Adolescent Autonomy

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This chapter explores how cultural and economic circumstances shape the nature, meaning, and consequences of strivings for autonomy in adolescence. It highlights research that demonstrates that the ways in which parents respond to adolescent strivings for autonomy have been linked to multiple aspects of adolescent adjustment. The challenge, however, is to recognize that there are variations across cultural groups in the degree to which autonomy is valued relative to loyalty and deference to the family. In addition to variations across cultural groups in the degree to which autonomy is a cherished goal, some parents are likely to find themselves in circumstances in which environmental influences, such as dangerous neighborhoods, may propel them to exert greater control over their adolescent children in order to protect their well-being. The chapter provides a roadmap for understanding how seemingly universal goals, such as the promotion of autonomy during adolescence, may take on different meanings and be accomplished in different ways depending on context and culture.

Keywords: autonomy; adolescence; parenting; adolescent adjustment; cultural variations; environmental influences

Chapter.  7041 words. 

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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