Autonomy from parents and psychological adjustment in an interdependent culture

Sunita Mahtani Stewart, Michael Harris Bond, Wai Chan, Riffat M. Zaman, Rabiya Dar, Muhammad Anwar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Psychological separation from parents is considered an important task in the development of the autonomous self. However, theorising about the importance of autonomy from parents for normal development has originated from individualistic cultures that socialise for independence. Urban, Pakistani middle-class, early and late adolescents completed measures related to behavioural autonomy (BA), emotional autonomy (EA) and detachment, and completed measures of psychological adjustment. Low detachment from parents and early BA in matters of personal choice is associated with good psychological adjustment. In contrast to the West where detachment is adaptive in families where parenting is not optimal, detachment was not associated with good functioning even when parents are not perceived as supportive. The pattern of findings complement those from the West, but also emphasise some important differences in the persistence of emotional interdependence across generations that distinguish this collective culture from individualistic western cultures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-49
Number of pages19
JournalPsychology and Developing Societies
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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