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The Right to Do Wrong: Lying to Parents Among Adolescents and Emerging Adults

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Abstract

In this study, 229 high school students and 261 college students evaluated the acceptability of lying to parents under 19 different circumstances where a person's motive for lying differed. Students also indicated the frequency with which they had lied to their parents about diverse issue such as friends, dates, and money. Results indicated that adolescents and emerging adults quite commonly lied to their parents, and that in part they framed lying to parents as a way to assert the right to autonomy. Emerging adults were less accepting of lying and reported less frequent lying, compared to adolescents. Results also showed the association of sex, personality (self-restraint and tolerance of deviance), and family environment (control and cohesion) upon adolescents' and emerging adults' acceptance of lying to parents and lying behavior.

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Jensen, L.A., Arnett, J.J., Feldman, S.S. et al. The Right to Do Wrong: Lying to Parents Among Adolescents and Emerging Adults. Journal of Youth and Adolescence 33, 101–112 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1023/B:JOYO.0000013422.48100.5a

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