Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Amy Gentzler

Committee Co-Chair

Nick Turiano

Committee Member

Amy Root


Adolescence can be a difficult phase of life. Adolescents may experience drastic physical, psychological, social changes, which can lead to uncertainty and anxiety. Courage is an important construct to study because it could help adolescents carry out tasks, work more effectively, and pursue goals (Koerner, 2014). Few studies have investigated predictors of general courage (e.g., personality; Muris et al., 2009), and moral courage (i.e., parenting, gender; Bronstein et al., 2009). The present study examined intrapersonal and interpersonal predictors (Time 1) of courage (Time 3) among adolescents, as well as potential mediating and moderating mechanisms. Data were collected from a larger longitudinal study with 3 time points and the present study’s data used Time 1 and Time 3 (one year apart). The sample included 203 adolescents (51.7% girls, Mage=15.08). Hierarchical multiple regression models indicated that autonomy support of mothers and fathers, self-esteem, and cognitive reappraisal at Time 1 were positively associated with adolescent courage at Time 3, whereas maternal helicopter parenting negatively related with adolescent courage at Time 3, over and above gender and socioeconomic status. Findings from exploratory mediation models demonstrated that autonomy support of parents predicted greater self-esteem, which explained greater courage. Anxious and avoidant attachment of parents predicted less self-esteem, which in turn explained less courage. In addition, cognitive reappraisal indirectly linked avoidant attachment to mothers, maternal helicopter parenting, and courage (more avoidantly attached to mothers reported less cognitive reappraisal and less courage; and greater maternal helicopter parenting related with more cognitive reappraisal and greater courage). This study contributes to the limited empirical research on courage as well as the first to examine predictors which may contribute to adolescents’ development of courage.