Keeping secrets from parents: Advantages and disadvantages of secrecy in adolescence.

C. Finkenauer, R.C.M.E. Engels, W. Meeus

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    Abstract

    Traditional views regard secrecy as problematic, and associated research among adults almost exclusively focuses on its physical and psychological disadvantages for the secret-keeper. Contrary to this negative view on secrecy, this paper proposes that secrecy may have developmental functions that bear particular importance in the period of adolescence. Specifically, it should be associated with adolescents' feeling of emotional autonomy. A cross-sectional study was conducted to examine the links between secrecy and psychosocial well-being and emotional autonomy among 227 younger (12-13 years) and older (16-18 years) adolescents. Results showed that keeping secrets from parents is associated with physical and psychological disadvantages in adolescence. Confirming the prediction, however, secrecy was also related to adolescents' emotional autonomy. The theoretical and empirical implications of our findings are discussed in the context of adolescent development.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)123-136
    JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
    Volume31
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2002

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    Confidentiality
    secrecy
    adolescence
    parents
    Parents
    adolescent
    autonomy
    Psychology
    Adolescent Development
    cross-sectional study
    Emotions
    Cross-Sectional Studies
    well-being
    Research

    Cite this

    Finkenauer, C. ; Engels, R.C.M.E. ; Meeus, W. / Keeping secrets from parents: Advantages and disadvantages of secrecy in adolescence. In: Journal of Youth and Adolescence. 2002 ; Vol. 31. pp. 123-136.
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    abstract = "Traditional views regard secrecy as problematic, and associated research among adults almost exclusively focuses on its physical and psychological disadvantages for the secret-keeper. Contrary to this negative view on secrecy, this paper proposes that secrecy may have developmental functions that bear particular importance in the period of adolescence. Specifically, it should be associated with adolescents' feeling of emotional autonomy. A cross-sectional study was conducted to examine the links between secrecy and psychosocial well-being and emotional autonomy among 227 younger (12-13 years) and older (16-18 years) adolescents. Results showed that keeping secrets from parents is associated with physical and psychological disadvantages in adolescence. Confirming the prediction, however, secrecy was also related to adolescents' emotional autonomy. The theoretical and empirical implications of our findings are discussed in the context of adolescent development.",
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    Keeping secrets from parents: Advantages and disadvantages of secrecy in adolescence. / Finkenauer, C.; Engels, R.C.M.E.; Meeus, W.

    In: Journal of Youth and Adolescence, Vol. 31, 2002, p. 123-136.

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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    N2 - Traditional views regard secrecy as problematic, and associated research among adults almost exclusively focuses on its physical and psychological disadvantages for the secret-keeper. Contrary to this negative view on secrecy, this paper proposes that secrecy may have developmental functions that bear particular importance in the period of adolescence. Specifically, it should be associated with adolescents' feeling of emotional autonomy. A cross-sectional study was conducted to examine the links between secrecy and psychosocial well-being and emotional autonomy among 227 younger (12-13 years) and older (16-18 years) adolescents. Results showed that keeping secrets from parents is associated with physical and psychological disadvantages in adolescence. Confirming the prediction, however, secrecy was also related to adolescents' emotional autonomy. The theoretical and empirical implications of our findings are discussed in the context of adolescent development.

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