Adolescents' Perceptions of Family Responsibility-Taking

By Taylor, Stephanie; Field, Tiffany et al. | Adolescence, Winter 1997 | Go to article overview

Adolescents' Perceptions of Family Responsibility-Taking

Taylor, Stephanie, Field, Tiffany, Yando, Regina, Gonzalez, Ketty P., Harding, Jeff, Lasko, David, Mueller, Cynthia, Bendell, Debra, Adolescence

Parents consider responsibility-taking an important developmental issue for adolescents. However, little is known about how adolescents perceive their family responsibilities, and there has been no measure for this construct.

Recent increases in separated, divorced, and single-parent families have required adolescents to assume more responsibility in their families, such as household chores (Garbarino, 1986). Adolescents in such families may experience greater demands to make mature decisions (Amato, 1987; Dombusch, Carlsmith, Bushwall, Ritter, Leiderman, Hastorf, & Gross, 1985) and more frequently develop companionate and sympathetic relationships with their custodial parents than do adolescents from two-parent families (Polit, 1984; Weis, 1979). In addition, because adolescents in single-parent families may have more responsibilities inside the home, they have less time for outside activities (Keith, Nelson, Schlabach, & Thompson, 1990).

Investigators have suggested that the changing economy has also affected adolescents' responsibility-taking. Garbarino (1986) has observed that the more daily life becomes focused on having money, the more Americans have shifted away from child-centered lifestyles. For example, affluent parents tend to rush adolescents into preparing for future elite status (the hurried child syndrome), and financially struggling parents tend to rush children into obtaining employment. As a result, adolescents may assume increased familial responsibilities at a younger age. Although some researchers have reported negative outcomes for these adolescents, others have suggested that such responsibilities facilitate emotional autonomy and disengagement from the family (Ryan & Lynch, 1989).

For the family, adolescents' responsibility-taking may contribute to increased intimacy with parents. Recent research suggests that adolescents have closer relationships with their parents than was portrayed in earlier literature (Offer, Ostrov, Howard, & Atkinson, 1990; Smollar & Youniss, 1989). In turn, closer relationships lead to more positive social and emotional development (Groterant & Cooper, 1985, 1986; Hauser, Powers, Noam, Jacobson, Weiss, & Follansbee, 1984). Presumably, closeness to parents relates to family responsibility.taking, although little is known about this relationship and how adolescents view family responsibility-taking.

In one study, adolescents' experiences of control, responsibility-taking, and life satisfaction were found to be strongly related, and they viewed responsibility-taking positively (Ortman, 1988). However, adolescents' views about particular family responsibilities were not tapped. Another study reported that children who assumed more family responsibility tended to be more independent, mastered self-help skills, developed problem-solving abilities, and matured more quickly than did children who assumed less responsibility (Weis, 1979). Again, it was not clear how the children viewed particular family responsibilities. It may be that adolescents perceive responsibility-taking in general as a positive, autonomy-promoting activity, but view the actuality as a negative prolongation of family involvement and an interference with peer relationships.

In the present study, adolescents were administered a scale designed specifically to measure family responsibility-taking (Field & Yando, 1991). A major limitation of previous responsibility-taking research was the use of parents as informants. This study, however, was designed to tap adolescents' own perceptions of family responsibility taking, both potentially positive aspects (e.g., being closer to parents) and negative (e.g., worrying more about family, having more household tasks and less time with peers). Because adolescents may view family responsibility-taking as enhancing relationships with parents but interfering with relationships with peers, a self-report scale was included to tap intimacy with parents and peers. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)


1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited article

Adolescents' Perceptions of Family Responsibility-Taking


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.