Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Deborah R. Brome

Second Advisor

Susan Gore

Third Advisor

Joan Liem


Research on developmental processes which occur during adolescence typically focuses on issues related to the adolescent without simultaneously considering the changes which occur for the mother when her child becomes a teenager. When an adolescent becomes a mother, it appears important to examine how this transition as well as the experiences of individuation and emotional autonomy contribute to the daughter's and the mother's perceptions of themselves and the mother-daughter relationship. Forty-five African American mother-daughter dyads served as participants for the present study and were identified as belonging to the "nonpregnant", "pregnant", or "parenting" groups. Emotional autonomy and perceptions of intimacy, attachment, and closeness within the mother-daughter relationship were assessed. The results of the study revealed no significant differences among the nonpregnant, pregnant, and parenting daughters' perceptions of emotional autonomy, intimacy, attachment, and closeness. Similarly, no significant differences were found for the study variables among the three groups of mothers. The lack of significant findings seem to suggest that teenage pregnancy does not alter African American mothers' and daughters' perceptions of the mother-daughter relationship as measured by the scales. The finding that mothers identify the relationship as being more intimate than their daughters is discussed in terms of the adolescents' experiences with the need for individuation. Implications for clinical intervention with African American families are addressed.


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