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Testing Components of Confirmation: How Acceptance and Challenge from Mothers, Fathers, and Siblings are Related to Adolescent Self-Concept

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Abstract:

The current study assessed how confirmation from family members (mothers, fathers, siblings) was related to adolescents' (ages 13-22) self-concepts. To extend confirmation theory, two components of confirmation were distinguished—acceptance and challenge—to understand their unique and combined contribution to predicting adolescent sense of self. 206 adolescents completed a general questionnaire, and a subset (n=60) completed daily diaries regarding conversations with family members. Analyses of the general perceptions of family interactions suggested the roles of acceptance and challenge in predicting adolescent sense of self varied by family member, whereas analyses of adolescents' reports of daily conversations suggested acceptance and challenge were strong predictors of sense of self regardless of family member. In addition, although the combination of acceptance and challenge was hypothesized to predict the strongest levels of sense of self, analyses suggested the effects of acceptance and challenge were additive. Adolescent participation in conversations, as hypothesized, also mediated the relationship between confirmation and sense of self. Overall, analyses provide partial support for the theoretical extensions, and directions for further theory development and future research are discussed.

Keywords: Adolescence; Confirmation; Family Communication; Self-Concept

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03637751.2010.499366

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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