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The Vicissitudes of Autonomy in Early Adolescence
Laurence Steinberg and Susan B. Silverberg
Vol. 57, No. 4 (Aug., 1986), pp. 841-851
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1130361
Page Count: 11
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A sample of 865 10-16-year-olds from a range of socioeconomic backgrounds completed a questionnaire battery concerning 3 aspects of autonomy: emotional autonomy in relationships with parents, resistance to peer pressure, and the subjective sense of self-reliance. The observed patterns of relations among the measures cast doubt on the notion that autonomy is a unidimensional trait manifested similarly across a variety of situations. For most boys and girls, the transition from childhood into adolescence is marked more by a trading of dependency on parents for dependency on peers, rather than straightforward and unidimensional growth in autonomy. Moreover, contrary to long-standing notions about the greater salience of autonomy to adolescent males than to females, girls score higher than boys on all 3 measures of autonomy at all age levels.
Child Development © 1986 Society for Research in Child Development