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Family Environments and Self-Consciousness in Early Adolescence

The Journal of Early Adolescence
SAGE Publications
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Modified versions of Epstein and McPartland's Family Decision-Making Scale were administered to upper elementary and junior high school children to assess their perceptions of the degree to which the child shares power and authority with parents and the degree to which the child participates in making decisions at home. Support was found for the hypothesis that parent-child authority relationships are systematically related to children's self-consciousness in various spheres of experience. Children from highly Authoritarian families reported greater self-consciousness in the math classroom, amongst peers, and in sports settings; they also reported a greater overall tendency to avoid situations in which the self was salient. In contrast children from families offering opportunities for self-direction reported an opposite pattern. Finally children's self-consciousness was differentially related to children's selfesteem and self-concept of ability in math, social, and sports domains. The authors conclude that parent-child authority structures are systematically related to children's self-assessments. Future research is needed to augment our understanding of the parent-child dynamics which contribute to these observed relationships.

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