07-07-2020 | Empirical Research
Developmental Changes in Secrecy During Middle Adolescence: Links with Alcohol Use and Perceived Controlling Parenting
Gepubliceerd in: Journal of Youth and Adolescence | Uitgave 8/2020Log in om toegang te krijgen
Adolescence is a developmental period characterized by fundamental transformations in parent–child communication. Although a normative shift in adolescents’ secrecy seems to occur in parallel to changes in their drinking behaviors and in their perceptions of the relationship with their parents, relatively little attention has been paid to their associations over time. The present longitudinal study examined the associations between developmental changes in adolescents’ secrecy, alcohol use, and perceptions of controlling parenting during middle adolescence, using a latent growth curve approach. At biannual intervals for two consecutive years, a sample of 473 Swiss adolescents (64.7% girls) beginning their last year of mandatory school (mean age at Time 1 = 14.96) completed self-report questionnaires about secrecy, alcohol use, and perceived controlling parenting. The results of the univariate models showed mean level increases in secrecy and alcohol use, but stable levels in controlling parenting over time. The results of a parallel-process model indicated that higher initial levels of secrecy were associated with higher initial levels of alcohol use and perceived controlling parenting, while an increase in secrecy was associated with an increase in alcohol use and an increase in perceived controlling parenting over time. In addition, adolescents who reported the lowest initial levels of perceived controlling parenting showed a greater increase in secrecy over time and those with high initial levels of secrecy reported a relative decrease in perceived controlling parenting. Finally, adolescents with the lowest initial levels of alcohol use experienced a greater increase in secrecy. Overall, these results indicate that the development of adolescents’ secrecy is associated with the development of their drinking habits and perceptions of family relationships in dynamic ways.