Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Human Environmental Sciences

Degree Level



Human Development, Family Sciences and Rural Sociology


Terrell, Amanda

Committee Member/Reader

Becnel, Jennifer

Committee Member/Second Reader

Litzelman, Kristin


There is currently a gap in literature regarding the transition from pediatric to adult healthcare for adolescents with chronic conditions, particularly relating to mental health and autonomy. This study aims to address this gap by looking specifically through the lens of parental autonomy-granting. This study uses data from 8,783 individuals in the AddHealth dataset to identify whether parental autonomy-granting has a mediating role between chronic health conditions and depressive symptomology, and to measure if adolescents with chronic conditions reported higher levels of depressive symptoms than their healthy counterparts. Using a t-test, it was found that youth with chronic conditions in emerging adulthood were significantly more likely to experience higher levels of depressive symptoms. Parental autonomy did not play a mediating role between adolescent health conditions and depressive symptomology; however, having a chronic condition was significantly and positively associated with parental autonomy-granting, and autonomy-granting was negatively associated with depressive symptoms in emerging adulthood. A limitation of this dataset includes having limited chronic conditions available to measure. Parental autonomy-granting may help counteract mental health challenges from having a chronic health condition. There needs to be increased attention paid to mental health in the transition from adolescence to adulthood, particularly relating to autonomy and chronic conditions. This can be addressed in several places, including transition care for adolescents and mental health support for adolescents with chronic conditions in schools. Further study needs to be done on the effects of parental autonomy-granting and adolescents with chronic conditions to help improve long-term outcomes.


Chronic Condition, Adolescent, Autonomy, Parenting