Construction of Social Reality During Early Adolescence: Can Expecting Storm and Stress Increase Real or Perceived Storm and Stress?

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Abstract

This study examines whether mothers' or adolescents' expectations concerning “storm and stress” behaviors at adolescence predict subsequent real or perceived adolescent behavior and attributes during the early years of adolescence. The study used a short-term longitudinal design. Participants were 6th- and 7th-grade adolescents and their mothers (N=270 families). Data were collected via telephone interviews and questionnaires at 2 time points approximately 1 year apart. Results indicated that adolescents' expectations for risk-taking/rebelliousness and for alienation and mothers' expectations for risk-taking/rebelliousness predicted increases in corresponding adolescent-reported outcomes over the 1-year period. Results are most consistent with the possibility of perceptual biases with respect to storm and stress behaviors, but could indicate the existence of self-fulfilling prophecies, particularly for risk-taking/rebelliousness.

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