Parent-Adolescent Discrepancies in Adolescents' Competence and the Balance of Adolescent Autonomy and Adolescent and Parent Well-Being in the Context of Type 1 Diabetes

Jonathan Butner, Cynthia A. Berg, Peter Osborn, Jorie M. Butler, Carine Godri, Katie T. Fortenberry, Ilana Barach, Hai Le, Deborah J. Wiebe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

55 Scopus citations


This study examined whether intrafamily discrepancies in perceptions of the adolescent's competence and independence were associated with autonomy and well-being for adolescents and parents. The ways in which mothers and fathers consistently differed from their adolescent across measures of independence and competence regarding Type 1 diabetes, a stressful context for families, were examined with the latent discrepancy model. A sample of 185 adolescents (mean age = 12.5 years, SD = 1.3), their mothers, and participating fathers completed measures of the adolescent's independence in completing diabetes tasks, problems with diabetes management, adherence to the medical regimen, measures of well-being, and metabolic control. The latent discrepancy model was conducted via structural equation modeling that generated latent discrepancies from the adolescent for mothers and fathers. Both mothers and fathers viewed the adolescent's competence more negatively than did the adolescent. These discrepancies related to more parental encouragement of independence and adolescent autonomy but also to poorer metabolic control and poorer parental psychosocial well-being. The results are interpreted within a developmental perspective that views discrepancies as reflecting normative developmental processes of autonomy but as being associated with disruptions in well-being in the short term.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)835-849
Number of pages15
JournalDevelopmental Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2009



  • adolescence
  • autonomy
  • parent adjustment
  • parent-child relationship
  • Type 1 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies
  • Demography

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