Nourishing identity formation during middle adolescence: The role of parenting, coparenting, and parental mental load


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Nourishing identity formation during middle adolescence: The role of parenting, coparenting, and parental mental load
Albert Sznitman Gillian
Zimmermann Grégoire
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Université de Lausanne, Faculté des sciences sociales et politiques
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The major developmental task of adolescence is the construction of a coherent identity. From the genesis of Erik Erikson’s writing on adolescent identity development, an emphasis was placed on the importance of one’s social environment for the development and definition of who one is. However, much of the work over the past decades has focused on identity as a purely psychological process. Thus, the purpose of the present dissertation is to take an in-depth look at contextual factors within the family that may relate to how an adolescent constructs their identity. Taking inspiration from the fields of self-determination theory, family systems theory, and developmental psychopathology, we propose four research aims. First, using a person-centered approach we empirically derive identity typologies based on an integrated six-process model of identity and investigate associations with perceived autonomy supportive and psychologically controlling parenting as well as evolutions over time (aim 1). Second, using a variable-centered approach, we examine the specific relationship between identity processes and parenting dimensions, in order to better grasp which parenting dimensions may be promoting or inhibiting identity processes (aim 2). In our third and fourth aims, we expand our scope of the family giving attention two other contextual factors that may put pressure on parents ultimately impacting their ability to provide autonomy supportive parenting, including coparenting (aim 3) and parental mental load (aim 4). Using data collected as part of a longitudinal project funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation, several analytic approaches were used to address the four research aims including cluster analysis, longitudinal growth class analysis, and structural equation modeling. Globally, higher levels of perceived autonomy supportive parenting and lower levels of perceived psychological control were associated with more mature identity development, whereas lower levels of perceived autonomy supportive parenting and higher levels of psychologically controlling parenting were associated with maladaptive identity formation. Furthermore, higher levels of pressure on parents in the form of coparental triangulation and parental mental load were associated with more maladaptive parenting and ultimately greater difficulties in adolescent identity formation. Results are discussed in regard to practical implications and interventions at numerous levels.
Swiss National Science Foundation / Projects / 100014_156155
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01/02/2022 17:22
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04/03/2022 8:10
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