A Longitudinal Growth Mixture Model of Child Disclosure to Parents Across Adolescence

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Abstract

The present study used a person-centered approach to examine heterogeneity in children’s patterns of routine disclosure (i.e., sharing information regarding their whereabouts and activities to parents) across adolescence and explored predictors and outcomes of different trajectories. Participants included 500 adolescents (51% female, 67% White, 33% single-parent families) who completed questionnaires every year from age 12 to age 18. Growth mixture modeling suggested that the majority of adolescents (82%) experienced a gradual decrease in disclosure to parents across adolescence, while another group (13%) reported low and stable disclosure, and a third group (5%) a steep decrease and leveling out over time. Group membership varied as a function of predictors at age 12 (delinquency, prosocial behavior, maternal warmth) and of outcomes at age 18 (delinquency, substance use, depression, prosocial behavior). The discussion focuses on the implications of this person-centered approach for adolescent disclosure to parents across adolescence.

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