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Heterogeneity and Change in the Patterning of Adolescents’ Perceptions of the Legitimacy of Parental Authority: A Latent Transition Model


  • This study was funded by Grants 1010933 and 1070852 from Fondo de Desarrollo Científico y Tecnológico, Fondecyt, Chile. Brian Flaherty was supported by NIDA Grant R01DA018673. The authors are grateful to Stephanie Lanza for valuable comments and suggestions to an early version of the manuscript.

concerning this article should be addressed to Patricio Cumsille, Escuela de Psicología, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Vicuña Mackenna #4860, Santiago, Chile. Electronic mail may be sent to


Changes in the patterning of adolescents’ beliefs about the legitimate domains of parental authority were modeled in 2,611 Chilean adolescents, 11–16 years old. Transitions in adolescents’ belief patterns were studied over 3 years. Latent transition analysis (LTA) revealed 3 distinct patterns of beliefs—parent control, shared control, and personal control—that differed in the extent to which adolescents believed that parents had legitimate authority over personal, prudential, and multidomain issues. Younger adolescents with fewer problem behaviors, higher self-efficacy, and more parental rules were more likely to espouse the parent control belief pattern. Adolescents’ patterning of beliefs was relatively stable over time. Older adolescents with more problem behaviors and fewer parental rules were most likely to move away from the parental control status.