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Lying Behavior, Family Functioning and Adjustment in Early Adolescence

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Communication between children and parents has been the subject of several studies, examining the effects of, for example, disclosure and secrecy on adolescents’ social relationships and adjustment. Less attention has paid to adolescent deception. We developed and tested a new instrument on lying behavior in a sample of 671 parent-adolescent couples. Analyses on the psychometric properties showed that this instrument had one principal component, and high internal consistency, item-total correlations and inter-item correlations. Lying was moderately associated with other indicators of parent-child communication, the quality of the parent-child relationship, and with parenting practices. In addition, frequent lying was moderately related to behavioral problems and emotional problems.

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Rutger Engels was supported by a fellowship of the Dutch Organization of Scientific Research during the preparation of this manuscript. We would like to acknowledge a grant of the Department of Child and Adolescent Studies, Utrecht University, for conducting the study.

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Correspondence to Rutger C. M. E. Engels.

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full professor at the Radboud University Nijmegen. He received his Ph.D. in 1998 from the University of Maastricht. His major research interest is the study of social influence processes, personality characteristics and development of smoking, drinking and drug use in adolescents and young adults.

Associate Professor at the Free University of Amsterdam. She received her Ph.D. in 1998 from the University of Louvain, at Louvain-la-Neuve. Her major research interests are interpersonal relationships, social prediction, secrecy and disclosure, and affective forecasting for self and others.

working as a developmental psychologist. She received her MA in 2001 from the University of Leiden.

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Engels, R.C.M.E., Finkenauer, C. & van Kooten, D.C. Lying Behavior, Family Functioning and Adjustment in Early Adolescence. J Youth Adolescence 35, 949–958 (2006).

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