Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 34, Issue 2, pp 137–148 | Cite as

Keeping Secrets From Parents: Longitudinal Associations of Secrecy in Adolescence

  • Tom FrijnsEmail author
  • Catrin Finkenauer
  • Ad A. Vermulst
  • Rutger C. M. E. Engels


A 2-wave survey study among 1173 10–14-year-olds tested the longitudinal contribution of secrecy from parents to psychosocial and behavioral problems in adolescence. Additionally, it investigated a hypothesized contribution of secrecy from parents to adolescent development by examining its relation with self-control. Results showed that keeping secrets from parents is associated with substantial psychosocial and behavioral disadvantages in adolescence even after controlling for possible confounding variables, including communication with parents, trust in parents, and perceived parental supportiveness. Contrary to prediction, secrecy was also negatively associated with feelings of self-control. Secrecy from parents thus appears to be an important risk factor for adolescent psychosocial well-being and behavioral adjustment.


secrecy psychosocial problems well-being adjustment 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tom Frijns
    • 1
    Email author
  • Catrin Finkenauer
  • Ad A. Vermulst
  • Rutger C. M. E. Engels
  1. 1.Department of Social PsychologyFree UniversityAmsterdamThe Netherlands

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