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ERIC Number: ED439807
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Mar
Pages: 22
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Studying links between the Timing of Puberty and Psychological Individuation.
Weichold, Karina; Silbereisen, Rainer K.; Schmitt-Rodermund, Eva
Individuation is the process whereby adolescents gradually gain autonomy from their parents while maintaining emotional relatedness, accompanied by a transformation of the parent-child relationship. In everyday parent-child interactions, higher levels of individuation are displayed by characteristic styles of verbal exchanges, such as flexible insisting on one's own opinion in spite of parental opposition, or challenging parent's opinion by asking questions. This study tested the hypothesis that early maturing girls show higher levels of individuation during conflict discussions with their mothers in comparison to same-aged females who are on-time or late maturing. Moreover, it was expected that their mothers would respond in a way that accepts the more grown-up role of the daughter. A sample of 33 female adolescents, ages 9-13, in a middle sized city in a central federal state of Germany, was studied. Their physical maturation, as assessed by the Pubertal Development Scale (Petersen et al., 1988) and validated by testosterone levels, resulted in groups of early, on-time, and late maturers. Mothers and daughters were videotaped during a conflict discussion concerning an everyday problematic issue of their own choosing. The tapes were evaluated by trained raters using a revised version of a Macro-Coding Manual (Holmbeck et al., 1995). The results of separate one-way ANOVAs for adolescent's and mother's responses revealed that early maturers displayed more engagement (i.e., shows initiative, cares for the flow of interchange and solicits input from the other) toward their mothers than on-time maturers. The mothers of the early maturers were less engaging and less open, recommended problem solutions less often, and had less power (i.e., convince the daughter to agree with their own position). This pattern was deemed as indicating higher individuation among the early maturers. Interestingly, late maturers revealed the same conversational behavior as their early maturing age mates but their mothers were more engaging and open, recommended solutions more often, and were more powerful than the mothers of the early maturers. Thus, not only the mother's behavior but the entire interaction pattern is differently structured. Whereas mothers of the early maturing girls seem to accept their daughters' growing individuation in reducing control and influence, late maturers presumably try to show more mature behavior, as a compensation for less advanced physical development, but fail to gain their mothers' acceptance. (Contains 44 references.) (HTH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Germany