Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 17, Issue 5, pp 377–391 | Cite as

Adolescent autonomy and parental stress

  • Stephen A. Small
  • Gay Eastman
  • Steven Cornelius


The present investigation explores the relationship between adolescent autonomy and parental stress among families with children aged 10–17. Independent measures were obtained from parents and children. Parents of early adolescent children reported significantly more stress than parents of preadolescents or middle adolescents. Parents of first-born children reported significantly more stress than did more experienced parents. Although mothers and fathers reported comparable levels of overall parental stress, their stress was, in part, the result of different factors. Fathers reported higher levels of stress if their children reported not following their advice and being involved in deviant activities. For mothers, stress was significantly related to their children's desire for greater autonomy. Emotional detachment was not a significant predictor of parental stress for either mothers or fathers. Implications of the findings for the parent-child relationship during adolescence are discussed.


Health Psychology Parental Stress Independent Measure Comparable Level Experienced Parent 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephen A. Small
    • 3
  • Gay Eastman
    • 1
  • Steven Cornelius
    • 2
  1. 1.Human Development and Family StudiesCornell UniversityUSA
  2. 2.Human Development and Family StudiesCornell UniversityUSA
  3. 3.Department of Child and Family StudiesUniversity of WisconsinMadison

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