Role Reversal: When Emerging Adults Initiate Health Confrontations With Their Parents

Lauren H. Weiner, Michael E. Roloff, Kimberly B. Pusateri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Utilizing theories of social confrontation, this study explores communication shifts in family dynamics during emerging adulthood, focusing on the motivations, barriers, and emotional outcomes of health-related confrontations between emerging adults and their parents. Results indicated that emerging adults’ perceived legitimacy and urgency of health concerns play important roles in the emotional expression in their health confrontations as well as their impact on parents’ future health behaviors, suggesting that emerging adulthood can be a critical time of communicative role-reversal when children begin to prepare themselves for their eventual roles as caregivers for aging parents. Theoretical implications, practical applications, and areas for future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)246-256
Number of pages11
JournalEmerging Adulthood
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 24 2014


  • emerging adulthood
  • family health influence
  • health confrontation
  • parent–child communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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