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Mother-adolescent conflict as a mediator between adolescent problem behaviors and maternal psychological control.

Abstract

This study examined mother-adolescent conflict as a mediator of longitudinal reciprocal relations between adolescent aggression and depressive symptoms and maternal psychological control. Motivated by family systems theory and the transactions that occur between individual and dyadic levels of the family system, we examined the connections among these variables during a developmental period when children and parents experience significant psychosocial changes. Three years of self-report data were collected from 168 mother-adolescent dyads, beginning when the adolescents (55.4% girls) were in 6th grade. Models were tested using longitudinal path analysis. Results indicated that the connection between adolescent aggression (and depressive symptoms) and maternal psychological control was best characterized as adolescent-driven, indirect, and mediated by mother-adolescent conflict; there were no indications of parent-driven indirect effects. That is, prior adolescent aggression and depressive symptoms were associated with increased conflict. In turn, conflict was associated with increased psychological control. Within our mediation models, reciprocal direct effects between both problem behaviors and conflict and between conflict and psychological control were also found. Additionally, exploratory analyses regarding the role of adolescent gender as a moderator of variable relations were conducted. These analyses revealed no gender-related patterns of moderation, whether moderated mediation or specific path tests for moderation were considered. This study corroborates prior research finding support for child effects on parenting behaviors during early adolescence.

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  • Publisher Full Text
  • Authors

    Steeger CM, Gondoli DM

    Source

    Developmental psychology 49:4 2013 Apr pg 804-14

    MeSH

    Adolescent
    Adolescent Behavior
    Aggression
    Child
    Child Behavior
    Depression
    Family Conflict
    Female
    Humans
    Longitudinal Studies
    Male
    Maternal Behavior
    Models, Psychological
    Mother-Child Relations
    Mothers
    Sex Factors

    Pub Type(s)

    Journal Article
    Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
    Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

    Language

    eng

    PubMed ID

    22612432