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



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

Judith G. Smetana

ISBN: 978-1-444-39088-9 November 2010 Wiley-Blackwell 336 Pages


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

Preface vi

1 Introduction: Perspectives on Adolescents and Their Families 1

2 Studying Adolescent–Parent Relationships from the Lens of Developmental Psychology 13

3 Conflicts and Their Vicissitudes 31

4 Parents’ Voices: Conflicts and Social Conventions 43

5 Adolescents’ Voices: Autonomy and the Personal Domain 66

6 Autonomy, Conflict, Connectedness, and Culture 96

7 Adolescent Relationships and Development within and between Cultures 120

8 Adolescent–Parent Relationships in African American Families 139

9 Beliefs about Parental Authority 172

10 Parenting Styles and Practices 193

11 Disclosure and Secrecy in Adolescent–Parent Relationships 216

12 Coordinations and Change in Social Development 249

13 Life beyond Adolescence: Transitions to Adulthood 271

References 279

Author Index 306

Subject Index 313

“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