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Externalizing and internalizing adjustment problems in teenage girls: a longitudinal study
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
1997 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The present thesis concerns the development of girls' adjustment problems during the adolescent period and into early adulthood. Its main focus is on a) developmental associations between externalizing and internalizing problems; and b) typical patterns of self-perceived adjustment problems in adolescence and their associations with adult maladjustment. Data were taken from the Swedish longitudinal research program "Individual Development and Adaptation" and concerned a sample of about 500 girls, who had been followed prospectively from age 10 to 25. The holistic, interactionistic perspective has provided a meta-theoretical framework for the research presented here. Traditional, variable-oriented methods were alternated with various person-oriented methods, in which patterns of operating factors were focused upon.

The results can be summarized as follows. 1) In the early adolescent years, girls' externalizing and internalizing adjustment problems tend to be largely independent phenomena, each following its own developmental course. From middle adolescence and onward, however, girls with externalizing problems show a significantly increased risk of also having internalizing problems. 2) Somatic complaints were found to be part of all multi-problem patterns in middle adolescence, irrespective of whether other problems in the pattern were mainly externalizing or internalizing. It is suggested that such complaints might be utilized as a litmus test for adolescent maladjustment. 3) Despite finding that the adolescent externalizing and internalizing problems of a significant number of girls persist into early adulthood, such a development is in no way inevitable. Rather, the development of adjustment problems in girls appears to be a process open to substantial change during the teenage years - in, it should be emphasized, both a positive and a negative direction. The results presented here will hopefully provide a basis for future studies of the female adjustment process, in which the principles of an interactionistic research paradigm may be more extensively applied.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Psychology, Stockholm University , 1997. , 50 p.
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Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-39987ISBN: 91-7153-568-3OAI: diva2:322242
Public defence
1997-03-06, Stockholm, 13:00
Härtill 5 uppsatserAvailable from: 2010-06-04 Created: 2010-06-04 Last updated: 2010-12-01Bibliographically approved

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