Parent-Child Closeness as an Influence on the Projected Life Course of Rural Adolescent Girls

Ann C. Crouter, Judith Hall Carson, Judith R. Vicary, Janice Butler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


This study examined the relationship between young adolescent girls’ feelings of closeness to mother and father and the ages at which they expected to make certain transitions to adult life, including becoming sexually active, marrying, becoming a mother, establishing an independent residence, completing education, and beginning to work full-time. Interviews with 106 girls (13-17 years of age) from a rural school district were conducted. Results indicated that the closer girls felt to their mothers, the later they expected to make the transitions related to sexuality and family formation. Feelings of closeness to father covaried with girls’ expectations of becoming sexually active later but were not related to expectations about the timing of other transitions. Although analyses of the stability of girls’ ideas about life course timing revealed considerable stability in girls’ timing expectations across a six-month period, it was also clear that some shifting in ideas about life course transitions and timing had occurred. A more fine-grained study of continuity and change in these ideas across the adolescent years would be a promising direction for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)345-355
Number of pages11
JournalThe Journal of Early Adolescence
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1988

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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