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Associations between parental and sibling family subsystems and adolescent externalizing and internalizing problems

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Associations between parental and sibling family subsystems and adolescent externalizing and internalizing problems

Ducharme, Jennifer Lynn (2002) Associations between parental and sibling family subsystems and adolescent externalizing and internalizing problems. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Family relationships and family functioning have been identified by family systems, social learning, and attachment theories as important influences on child and adolescent development and psychopathology, including the development of internalizing and externalizing problems. Most studies have examined global family constructs in relation to adolescent adjustment, however. The present study investigated links between several family dyads (i.e., mother-adolescent, father-adolescent, sibling-adolescent, and marital dyads), their characteristics (i.e., support, negative interactions/conflict, conflict resolution) and adolescent internalizing and externalizing problems. The study's specific goals were to investigate the relative importance of each family subsystem for the prediction of adolescent outcomes, including whether the subsystems and their characteristics differentially predict internalizing and externalizing problems. Using a short-term longitudinal design, adolescents ( M age 13.1 years) initially in grades 7 and 8 were tested twice one year apart. At both Time 1 ( N = 244; 145 girls) and Time 2 ( N = 201; 127 girls), in groups at school, adolescents completed measures of adjustment and family subsystem relationship characteristics. Participating mothers ( N = 80) completed parallel questionnaires, mailed to them at their homes. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that for teens from two-parent families, low social support in the adolescent-father dyad was uniquely associated with both internalizing and externalizing problems, while for teens from single-mother families, low social support in the adolescent-sibling dyad was uniquely associated with more of the same types of adjustment problems. Further, for teens from two-parent families, negative dyadic interactions were associated with internalizing problems. In addition, for girls from these families, negative interactions in the mother-adolescent dyad were uniquely associated with externalizing problems, while for boys, negative interactions in the father-adolescent dyad were uniquely associated with externalizing problems. In these same families, parents' infrequent use of collaborative and frequent use of destructive conflict resolution in their own interactions together were associated with more internalizing problems for teens. These findings highlight the importance of differentiating among adolescent-mother, adolescent-father, adolescent-sibling and marital dyadic relationships in families, as a means of evaluating both the unique and joint contributions of family relationships to adolescent adjustment and psychopathology.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Ducharme, Jennifer Lynn
Pagination:xix, 259 leaves ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (Ph.D.)
Program:Psychology
Date:2002
Thesis Supervisor(s):Doyle, Anna-Beth
ID Code:1839
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:22
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:23
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