Department or Program


Title of Approved Individual Major


Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor

Sally Theran


The current study examined factors that influenced levels of authenticity in relationships with parents and levels of general authenticity. The study explored the associations among perceived parental feedback (support and criticism), emotion regulation (suppression and reappraisal), and authenticity in relationships. An additional goal was to determine if perceived support from parents moderated the relation between suppression and authenticity in relationships. A sample of female college students (N = 124, Mage = 19.62 years) and a sample of female high school students (N = 31, Mage = 15.87 years) completed self-report questionnaires related to perceptions of parent support and criticism, emotion regulation techniques, and authenticity in relationships. Results indicated that high levels of perceived criticism were associated with low levels of authenticity while high levels of perceived support were associated with high levels of authenticity. Further, suppression was related to lower levels of authenticity. These results were consistent for both samples. Finally, while reappraisal was not associated with higher levels of authenticity with parents, it was associated with higher levels of general authenticity. Results from the moderation analyses indicated that, with the high school sample, support from mothers moderated the relation between suppression and authenticity in relationships with mothers. However, this result was not replicated for college students. Further, in the undergraduate sample, criticism from mothers moderated the relation between reappraisal and general authenticity. These results have important clinical implications as they indicate the considerable value of parental support for adolescents and young adults in promoting and maintaining authenticity in relationships.