Date of Award

Spring 2001

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Turner, Lynn

Second Advisor

Bardwell, Rebecca

Third Advisor

Garner, Ana


Healthy family relationships have always been valued, but are not always easily developed and maintained. Thus, they are a continued source of interest for scholars. An important, but sometimes difficult family relationship, is that of the mother and her adolescent daughter. This topic was of special interest to me, as at the start of this project, my own daughter was thirteen years old, and I learned firsthand how the relationship could be paradoxically loving yet trying. Physical, intellectual, and social changes occurring in the adolescent daughter often engender some degree of uncertainty and stress as daughters and their mothers reassess and modify their relationships in response to these changes. To facilitate a better understanding of the mother-adolescent daughter relationship, five research questions were developed to guide this study: 1) How do mothers experience their relationships with their adolescent daughters? 2) How do daughters experience their relationships with their mothers? 3) How do mothers' and their daughters' experiences compare? 4) What communication patterns and strategies characterize the mother-adolescent daughter relationship? 5) How does ethnicity impact the mother-adolescent daughter relationship? My sample consisted often middle class mother-adolescent daughter dyads, five African American and five European American. The daughters ranged in age from 13 to 17 years, the mothers from 34 to 48 years. Mothers and their daughters participated in individual in-depth interviews, follow-up interviews, and a joint interactional activity. As I am European American, an African-American research assistant was utilized to help establish rapport with my African American participants and provide feedback following data collection sessions...



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