Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 192–201 | Cite as

Mother-Adolescent Parentification, Enmeshment and Adolescents’ Intimacy: The Mediating Role of Rejection Sensitivity

  • Limor GoldnerEmail author
  • Shira Carren Sachar
  • Ayelet Abir
Original Paper


The contribution of mother-adolescent parentification and enmeshment to adolescents’ ability to establish an intimate same-sex non-romantic best friend relationship as a function of rejection sensitivity were examined in a sample of 334 Israeli early and mid-adolescents using partial Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients and a mediation model. The bivariate correlation demonstrated, contrary to expectations, that both mother-adolescent parentification and enmeshment was positively correlated with adolescents’ intimacy. However, as expected, angry expectations and expectations of rejection were negatively correlated with adolescents’ intimacy. The mediation model indicated that mother-adolescent parentification was positively correlated with adolescents’ rejection sensitivity, which was negatively correlated with adolescents’ intimacy. Rejection sensitivity fully mediated the link between mother-adolescent parentification and adolescents’ intimacy. By contrast and again contrary to expectations, the direct path between mother-adolescent enmeshment and adolescents’ intimacy was significantly and positively correlated. The discussion centers on the theoretical implications of rejection sensitivity as a mechanism through which parentification with the mother impedes adolescents’ development of intimacy in the context of Israeli society.


Adolescents Parentification Enmeshment Intimacy Rejection sensitivity 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

We confirm that the research reported here was conducted in accordance with American Psychological Association’s ethical standards for the treatment of human subjects including obtaining ethical approval from the Committee to Evaluate Human Subject Research of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Social Welfare of the University of Haifa and informed written consent from the participants. All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Limor Goldner
    • 1
    Email author
  • Shira Carren Sachar
    • 1
  • Ayelet Abir
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Creative Arts TherapiesUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael

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