The Role Maturity of Parents of Emerging Adult Children: Validity of a Parental Maturity Measure
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Parental maturity refers to parents’ ability to see their child as an independent adult with limitations and needs, and relate to him/her accordingly. In this study, we had two main aims: (a) develop a measure of parental maturity and test its construct validity in a sample of middle-aged parents with an emerging adult child, and (b) examine how the dimensions of parental maturity varied with a child’s gender and life course transitions (i.e., employment and leaving the parental home). A sample of 343 Portuguese parents (187 mothers and 156 fathers) aged 40–68 participated in this study. Factorial validity of the Parental Maturity Measure was tested using exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses and measurement invariance across mothers and fathers. Results gave support for a two-factor measure—Comprehending (6 items) and Letting Go (4 items)—with an equivalent meaning across parents. Dimensions of parental maturity were associated with differentiated and positive parent–child relationship qualities, but were quite independent of the child’s gender and life course transitions.
KeywordsParental maturity Validity Role transitions Parent–child relations Emerging adulthood Gender
This research was supported by a doctoral grant awarded by the Fundação para Ciência e Tecnologia (MCTES, Portugal) to the first author (SFRH/BD/45454/2008).
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