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Relationships with Parents, Self-Esteem, and Psychological Well-Being in Young Adulthood

Robert E. L. Roberts and Vern L. Bengtson
Social Psychology Quarterly
Vol. 56, No. 4 (Dec., 1993), pp. 263-277
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2786663
Page Count: 15
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Relationships with Parents, Self-Esteem, and Psychological Well-Being in Young Adulthood
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Abstract

What are the psychological benefits of close parent-child relations for sons and daughters who have reached adulthood? We apply identity theory to formulate hypotheses concerning potential contributions of parent-child affection to filial self-esteem and well-being in young adulthood. We expect that the immediate psychological benefits of such affection will depend on the psychological salience of the filial identity. Competing "adult" work, marital, and parental role-identities should decrease the salience of filial identity, thereby decreasing contributions of parent-child affection to filial self-esteem in young adulthood. A panel of 293 parent-child dyads provided longitudinal data (spanning 14 years) on quality of relationship and filial well-being as the sons and daughters aged from their late teens to thirties. The major findings are as follows: 1) parent-child affection made a modest contribution to filial self-esteem in late adolescence and early adulthood; 2) negative psychological consequences of low parent-child affection were less for young adults who possessed work and, to a lesser extent, marital and parental identities; and 3) early contributions of affection to filial self-esteem provided modest long-term psychological benefits for sons and daughters in adulthood.

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