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Adolescents, Families, and Social Development: How Teens Construct Their Worlds

ISBN: 978-1-4443-9088-9
336 pages
November 2010, Wiley-Blackwell
Adolescents, Families, and Social Development: How Teens Construct Their Worlds (1444390880) cover image


This book provides an in-depth examination of adolescents’ social development in the context of the family.
  • Grounded in social domain theory, the book draws on the author’s research over the past 25 years
  • Draws from the results of in-depth interviews with more than 700 families
  • Explores adolescent-parent relationships among ethnic majority and minority youth in the United States, as well as research with adolescents in Hong Kong and China
  • Discusses extensive research on disclosure and secrecy during adolescence, parenting, autonomy, and moral development
  • Considers both popular sources such as movies and public surveys, as well as scholarly sources drawn from anthropology, history, sociology, social psychology, and developmental psychology
  • Explores how different strands of development, including autonomy, rights and justice, and society and social convention, become integrated and coordinated in adolescence
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Table of Contents


1 Introduction: Perspectives on Adolescents and Their Families.

2 Studying Adolescent–Parent Relationships from the Lens of Developmental Psychology.

3 Conflicts and Their Vicissitudes.

4 Parents' Voices: Conflicts and Social Conventions.

5 Adolescents' Voices: Autonomy and the Personal Domain.

6 Autonomy, Conflict, Connectedness, and Culture.

7 Adolescent Relationships and Development within and between Cultures.

8 Adolescent–Parent Relationships in African American Families.

9 Beliefs about Parental Authority.

10 Parenting Styles and Practices.

11 Disclosure and Secrecy in Adolescent–Parent Relationships.

12 Coordinations and Change in Social Development.

13 Life beyond Adolescence: Transitions to Adulthood.


Author Index.

Subject Index.

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Author Information

Judith G. Smetana is Professor of Psychology and Director of the Ph.D. Program in Developmental Psychology at the University of Rochester, where she also held the Frederika Warner Chair in Human Development from 1995 to 1998. She has served on the editorial boards of numerous journals, and she is the author of more than 150 articles and chapters on the development of children's moral and social reasoning and on adolescent–parent relationships in different ethnic and cultural contexts.
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“Overall, this book gives great detail on adolescent parent relationships and how they effect the development of children . . . This is a comforting message, one very different from popular accounts, and one that parents and adolescents would benefit from appreciating”  (Journal of Youth & Adolescence, 5 December 2012)

“Few scholars have influenced the contemporary study of adolescent–parent relationships as much as Judith Smetana. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the ways in which family relationships are transformed during this stage of life.”
Laurence Steinberg, Temple University

“In this very thoughtful book Judith Smetana provides deep and insightful understandings of adolescence. Smetana masterfully positions adolescence in explanations of difficulties and developmental progress during these years. This splendid book is indispensable for anyone interested in adolescence, social and family relationships, moral theory, culture, and development.”
Elliot Turiel, University of California Berkeley

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