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ERIC Number: EJ945371
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Sep
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 56
ISSN: ISSN-0012-1649
Individual Differences in Early Adolescents' Beliefs in the Legitimacy of Parental Authority
Kuhn, Emily S.; Laird, Robert D.
Developmental Psychology, v47 n5 p1353-1365 Sep 2011
Adolescents differ in the extent to which they believe that parents have legitimate authority to impose rules restricting adolescents' behavior. The purpose of the current study was to test predictors of individual differences in legitimacy beliefs during the middle school years. Annually, during the summers following Grades 5, 6, and 7, early adolescents (n = 218; 51% female, 47% African American, 73% in 2-parent homes) reported their beliefs regarding the legitimacy of parents' rules that restrict and monitor adolescents' free time activities. Cross-lagged analyses revealed that legitimacy beliefs were bidirectionally associated with independent decision making, psychological control, antisocial peer involvement, and resistance to control. Legitimacy beliefs declined more rapidly during the middle school years for boys than for girls and for adolescents who were older relative to their classmates. More independent decision making in Grades 5 and 6 predicted larger than expected declines in legitimacy beliefs in Grades 6 and 7. In sum, legitimacy beliefs weaken developmentally, and weaker legitimacy beliefs relative to same-grade peers are anteceded by premature autonomous experiences, psychological control, and adolescent attributes. (Contains 3 tables and 3 figures.)
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 5; Grade 6; Grade 7; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A