Associations Between Observed Mother–Adolescent Interactions and Adolescent Information Management


  • This research was supported by a grant from the Fetzer Institute to the second author. We wish to thank the Rush-Henrietta School District and the families who participated in this research. We would also like to thank Denise Gettman, Aaron Metzger, and our undergraduate research assistants for their help with family visits and data entry.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Wendy Rote, Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology, Meliora Hall, RC 270266, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627. E-mail:


Associations between observed mother–adolescent interactions during a conflict task and adolescents’ information management strategies were examined in 108 primarily middle class, European-American adolescents (= 13.80 years, SD = 1.52) and their mothers. Teens who communicated more clearly disclosed more about personal and multifaceted activities, lied less about personal activities, and engaged in less avoidance regarding multifaceted and prudential activities. Mothers’ clear communication was associated with less adolescent disclosure and more avoidance about personal and multifaceted activities. Teens with more receptive mothers omitted less prudential information but avoided discussing prudential issues more. Maternal warmth was not associated with information management. The results highlight the need to distinguish between parent and teen behaviors and between affective quality and specific communicative behaviors.