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01-05-2014 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 5/2014

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 5/2014

Adolescents’ Information Management: Comparing Ideas About Why Adolescents Disclose to or Keep Secrets from Their Parents

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 5/2014
Lauree Tilton-Weaver


Recognizing that adolescents providing or withholding information about their activities is a strong predictor of parental knowledge, this article compares several ideas about what prompts adolescents to disclose information or keep secrets from their parents. Using a sample of 874 Northern European adolescents (aged 12–16 years; 49.8 % were girls), modified cross-lagged models examined parental monitoring (solicitation and monitoring rules), adolescent delinquency, and perceived parental support as predictors and consequences of adolescents disclosing to parents or keeping secrets, with adolescents’ acceptance of parental authority as a moderator. Results suggest that, when adolescents view their parents as supportive, they subsequently disclose more and keep fewer secrets. Engaging in delinquent behavior was related reciprocally to keeping secrets. By comparison, the results generally did not support the idea that adolescents who are monitored provide information to parents, even when they accept parental authority. These results suggest that relationship dynamics and adolescents’ delinquent behaviors play an important role in adolescents’ information management.

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