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12-12-2017 | Original Paper | Uitgave 5/2018

Journal of Child and Family Studies 5/2018

Emotional Separation, Autonomy in Decision-Making, and Psychosocial Adjustment in Adolescence: A Proposed Typology

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 5/2018
Auteurs:
Paloma Alonso-Stuyck, Juan José Zacarés, Adoración Ferreres

Abstract

Adolescence is critical for learning autonomous behavior; however, little research is available on the most appropriate balance of the emotional and behavioral dimensions of autonomy for psychosocial adjustment during this period. In this study we present a novel autonomy typology that combines both these aspects, which can be implemented as autonomy in decision-making and emotional separation. Specifically, examined age differences in emotional separation and autonomy in decision-making during adolescence. We also assessed differences in psychosocial adjustment associated with profiles of autonomy typology, sex, and age. The participants were 567 adolescents (296 males and 271 females), aged between 12 and 18 years (M = 14.48; SD = 1.69), recruited in Spanish high schools. Each participant filled out questionnaires on identity commitment, self-esteem, emotional separation and autonomy in decision-making. The results showed that the most advantageous autonomy profile is ‘autonomous in decisions’ (those showing low emotional separation combined with autonomous behavior in decisions) which was associated with higher levels of self-esteem and occupational and ideological identity commitment. In addition, we also concluded that the balance of autonomy affects adjustment throughout adolescence, although early adolescence may be an especially critical period.

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