Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational and School Psychology

First Advisor

Justin Low

First Committee Member

Amy Scott Brown

Second Committee Member

Linda Webster


The purpose of this study was to synthesize the relations among the adolescent need for autonomy in decision making process, depression, and tendencies for deviant or risk-taking behaviors as adolescents. Background variables such as socio-economic status, sex, race, previous academic achievement, parent warmth and support, resistance to peer pressure were controlled for. Using the NICHD database set, multiple regression analyses revealed that adolescent autonomy was not correlated with adolescent depression, and earlier depression at sixth grade was not a significant mediator of the effect of earlier deviant behaviors at sixth grade on later adolescent deviant behaviors. More importantly, however, the study did show that when SES, sex, race, previous achievement, parent warmth/support, and peer influences/relationships were controlled for, autonomy at sixth grade did indeed predict depression in later adolescence at age fifteen. Additionally, depression at age fifteen turned out to be a significant mediator of the effect of early autonomy on later deviant behaviors.





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