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Parents Perceived as Peers: Filial Maturity in Adulthood

Abstract

Filial maturity refers to the adult offspring’s perception of parents as individuals with past histories and limitations. Three studies were conducted to measure filial maturity and its relational and developmental correlates. Study 1 included adults aged 18–59 to empirically assess filial maturity and its correlates across adulthood. Study 2 examined associations between filial maturity and constructs indicative of emerging adulthood (e.g., emotional autonomy), among people aged 18–24. Study 3 included young and middle-aged adults (N = 158; ages: 22–49) and their parents to assess associations between parents’ reports of relationship quality and offspring’s filial maturity. Offspring reported greater filial maturity with mothers and with parents with whom they reported greater relationship quality, closeness, and autonomy. Parents who reported greater relationship quality had offspring who reported greater filial maturity. Findings suggest that filial maturity is a dyadic phenomenon that influences parent child relationship quality across the lifespan.

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Correspondence to Kira S. Birditt.

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Birditt, K.S., Fingerman, K.L., Lefkowitz, E.S. et al. Parents Perceived as Peers: Filial Maturity in Adulthood. J Adult Dev 15, 1–12 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10804-007-9019-2

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Keywords

  • Parent–child
  • Filial maturity
  • Relationship quality
  • Gender
  • Autonomy