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Do Parents Foster Self-Esteem? Testing the Prospective Impact of Parent Closeness on Adolescent Self-Esteem

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Harris Michelle A., et al. , Grünenfelder-Steiger Andrea E., Ferrer Emilio, Donnellan M. Brent , Allemand Mathias, Fend Helmut A., Conger Rand D., Trzesniewski Kali H.,
Project Selbst- und Persönlichkeitsentwicklung der Adoleszenz in langfristiger Perspektive
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Child Development
Title of proceedings Child Development


Close parent-child relationships are viewed as important for the development of global self-esteem. Cross-sectional research supports this hypothesis, but longitudinal studies provide inconsistent prospective effects. The current study uses data from Germany (N = 982) and the United States (N = 451) to test longitudinal relations between parent-child closeness and adolescent self-esteem. The authors used self-, parent-, and observer-reported parent-child closeness and self-reported self-esteem from ages 12-16. Results replicated concurrent correlations found in the literature, but six longitudinal models failed to show prospective relations. Thus, the longitudinal effect of parent-child closeness and self-esteem is difficult to detect with adolescent samples. These findings suggest the need for additional theorizing about influences on adolescent self-esteem development and longitudinal research with younger samples.