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Benson, Janel E. & Johnson, Monica Kirkpatrick (2009). Adolescent Family Context and Adult Identity Formation. Journal of Family Issues, 30(9), 1265-1286. PMCID: PMC2806681


This study examines the links between adolescent family context and coming to see oneself as an adult. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, the authors investigate how adolescent family structure, resources, and processes together influence adult identity and whether they do so similarly for men and women. The authors find that youth in single-parent or stepparent families, but not in two-parent adoptive families, are more likely to identify as adults compared with those in two-biological-parent families. These relationships, however, are mediated by both family resources and processes. Furthermore, one of these processes, parental control, is especially influential for youth in single-father and other family structures, and parent—adolescent relationship quality and living in other-structure families are more consequential for young women than men.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Journal of Family Issues


Benson, Janel E.
Johnson, Monica Kirkpatrick