Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 1–23 | Cite as

Parental contexts of adolescent self-esteem: A developmental perspective

  • Roberta S. Isberg
  • Stuart T. Hauser
  • Alan M. Jacobson
  • Sally I. Powers
  • Gil Noam
  • Bedonna Weiss-Perry
  • Donna Follansbee


Relationships between parental behaviors and adolescent self-esteem were analyzed in a group of 95 early adolescents from multiple settings. The study was designed to investigate hypotheses regarding associations between observed parental interactions (e.g., accepting and devaluing) and adolescent self-esteem. Parents' verbal interactions with their adolescents were assessed through application of the constraining and enabling coding system to transcribed family discussions, generated through a revealed differences procedure. Adolescent self-esteem was measured with the Coopersmith Self-Esteem Inventory. Parent interaction-self-esteem associations were examined in the pooled sample, as well as in specific sub-groups based on gender, health, and ego development (measured by the Washington University Sentence Completion Test). Boys had more numerous associations between their self-esteem and parental interactions than girls, and psychiatrically ill boys had particularly high associations. Parental interactions were found to be most strongly related to adolescent self-esteem for adolescents at the lowest levels of ego development. Our findings are consistent with the view that increasing individuation in self-esteem regulation occurs during adolescent development, such that adolescents at higher levels of ego development evaluate themselves more independently of parental feedback than do their less mature peers.


Parental Behavior Early Adolescent High Association Adolescent Development Developmental Perspective 
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 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roberta S. Isberg
    • 1
  • Stuart T. Hauser
    • 1
  • Alan M. Jacobson
    • 1
  • Sally I. Powers
    • 2
  • Gil Noam
    • 3
  • Bedonna Weiss-Perry
    • 4
  • Donna Follansbee
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Harvard Medical SchoolUSA
  2. 2.Henry A. Murray Research Center of Radcliffe CollegeUSA
  3. 3.the Children's Unit of McLean HospitalUSA
  4. 4.Adolescent and Family Development ProjectHarvard Medical SchoolUSA
  5. 5.Parent-Place, Judge Baker Guidance CenterUSA

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