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Document Type

Open Access

Degree Program

Psychology

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded

2012

Month Degree Awarded

September

Keywords

adolescence, emerging adulthood, emotion regulation, families, psychological well being

Abstract

Adolescence and emerging adulthood are both critical transition phases wrought with developmental changes and challenges. One of the major developmental tasks that families of children, adolescents and emerging adults deal with is facilitating the development of emotion regulation. The practices that families engage in that attempt to create order and stability within the family—their routines and rituals—may be one key family variable that helps develop better emotion regulation. Family routines and rituals tend to create a more stable environment, which in turn may predict better outcomes for individuals (Crespo, Davide, Costa & Fletcher, 2008; Fiese, 2007; Leon & Jacobvitz, 2003). The current study examined the extent to which routines and rituals in the family of origin during adolescence contributed to longer term, post-adolescent positive psychological outcomes in emerging adults.

The current study used a sample of 492 college students between the ages 18-24 years old. The college students completed a series of online questionnaires about their family routines and rituals during adolescence, their current psychological well being and emotion regulatory skills. A subset of college student had their parents participate in the study who completed similar online questionnaires about their past family routines and rituals. When emerging adults ascribed greater meaning to past family routines and rituals, this was directly related to greater psychological well being. Emerging adults and parents ascribed a different level of meaning to the family routines and rituals, which predicted greater psychological well being of emerging adults. The results of the study showed that emotion regulation was a significant mediator of the relationship between family routines and relationships and emerging adults’ psychological well being. The findings of the current study support the notion that mechanisms such as family routines and rituals that families implement are related to better outcomes for individuals. When families engage in meaningful family practices during adolescence, the impact of these practices can carry over into emerging adulthood.

First Advisor

David G Scherer

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