Date of Completion
Autonomy, Adolescence, Attachment, Meaning Making
Julie Wargo Aikins,Ph.D.
Kimberli Treadwell, Ph.D
Rhiannon Smith, Ph.D.
Field of Study
Doctor of Philosophy
The primary goal of this study was to examine the impact of autonomy, maternal co-construction, and attachment representations on early adolescents’ meaning making. Meaning making is important for positive coping and developing a sense of self. Among 51 low-risk early adolescents, a high rate of unresolved (38%) and a low rate of secure (4%) attachment representations occurred. In the present sample, the amount of new information that a mother contributed to the conversation (i.e., elaborations) was found to significantly differentiate those adolescents who were judged to have made meaning from those who did not make meaning. Otherwise, autonomy and both adolescent and maternal attachment did not significantly contribute to meaning making. Whereas these results provide preliminary evidence for some role of maternal co-construction in early adolescent meaning making, discussion will also suggest further investigation into the function of autonomy, attachment, and other forms of co-construction in contributing to the emergence of meaning making over time.
LeTard, Amanda J., "The Role of Autonomy, Attachment, and Co-Construction in Early Adolescent Meaning Making" (2016). Doctoral Dissertations. 1192.