Journal of Marriage and Family

Published by Wiley
Online ISSN: 1741-3737
Print ISSN: 0022-2445
This study examined self-reported marital conflict behaviors and their implications for divorce. Husbands and wives (N = 373 couples; 47% White American, 53% Black American) reported conflict behaviors in years 1, 3, 7, and 16 of their marriages. Individual behaviors (e.g., destructive behaviors) and patterns of behaviors between partners (e.g., withdrawal-constructive) in Year 1 predicted higher divorce rates. Wives' destructive and withdrawal behaviors decreased over time, whereas husbands' conflict behaviors remained stable. Husbands reported more constructive and less destructive behaviors than wives and Black American couples reported more withdrawal than White American couples. Findings support behavioral theories of marriage demonstrating that conflict behaviors predict divorce and accommodation theories indicating that conflict behaviors become less negative over time.
This study uses a new source of linked census data (N = 6,734) to test theories proposed to explain the high intergenerational coresidence in 19th-century America. Was it a system of support for dependent elderly, or did it reflect intergenerational interdependence? I focus on transitions from middle age to old age, and I assess key predictors of family transitions, including widowhood, retirement, disability, migration, and wealth. The results show that adverse events precipitated changes in the headship of intergenerational families but did not increase the likelihood of residing in an intergenerational family. The findings suggest that 19th-century intergenerational coresidence was not principally a means of old-age support; more often, probably, there was a reciprocal relationship between generations.
Family formation changed dramatically over the twentieth century in the United States. The impact of these changes on childbearing has primarily been studied in terms of nonmarital fertility. However, changes in family formation behavior also have implications for fertility within marriage. We use data from ten fertility surveys to describe changes in the timing of marital childbearing from the 1940s through the 21(st) century for non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black women. Based on harmonized data from the Integrated Fertility Survey Series, our results suggest increasing divergence in fertility timing for white women. A growing proportion of marriages begin with a premarital conception; at the same time, an increasing proportion of white women are postponing fertility within marriage. For black women, marital fertility is increasingly postponed beyond the early years of marriage. Evaluating the sequencing of marriage and parenthood over time is critical to understanding the changing meaning of marriage.
Utilizing data from NORC's General Social Survey, 1972-1978, trends in attitudes toward abortion on the part of the U.S. population are analyzed with emphasis upon a comparison of attitudes before and after the 1973 Roe and Doe Supreme Court decisions. Comparisons are also made with findings from the 1960s regarding abortion attitudes. While there has been an increasing liberalization of attitudes toward legalized abortion in the past 15 years, by 1975 the trend began to change and attitudes became slightly more conservative. By 1978, the conservative trend is pronounced. These changes are a function of selected demographic variables.
This review examines the role of religion, for better and worse, in marital and parent-child relationships according to peer reviewed studies from 1999-2009. A conceptual framework labeled "relational spirituality" is used to: (a) organize the breadth of findings into the three stages of the formation, maintenance, and transformation of family relationships, and (b) illustrate three in-depth sets of mechanisms to delve into unique ways religion may shape family bonds. Topics include union formation, fertility, spousal roles, marital satisfaction and conflict, divorce, domestic violence, infidelity, pregnancy, parenting children, parenting adolescents, and coping with family distress. Conclusions emphasize moving beyond markers of general religiousness and identifying specific spiritual beliefs and practices that could prevent or intensify problems in traditional and nontraditional families.
Demographic trends in the 2000s showed the continuing separation of family and household due to factors such as childbearing among single parents, the dissolution of cohabiting unions, divorce, repartnering, and remarriage. The transnational families of many immigrants also displayed this separation, as families extended across borders. In addition, demographers demonstrated during the decade that trends such as marriage and divorce were diverging according to education. Moreover, demographic trends in the age structure of the population showed that a large increase in the elderly population will occur in the 2010s. Overall, demographic trends produced an increased complexity of family life and a more ambiguous and fluid set of categories than demographers are accustomed to measuring.
Young adults' romantic relationships are often unstable, commonly including breakup-reconcile patterns. From the developmental perspective of emerging adulthood exploration, such relationship "churning" is expected; however, minor conflicts are more common in churning relationships. Using TARS data (N = 792), we test whether relationship churning is associated with more serious conflict: physical violence and verbal abuse. Those who are stably broken up (breakup only - no reconciliation) are similar to those who are stably together in their conflict experiences. In contrast, churners (i.e., those involved in on-off relationships) are twice as likely as those who are stably together or stably broken up to report physical violence and half again as likely to report the presence of verbal abuse in their relationships; this association between churning and conflict holds net of a host of demographic, personal, and relationship characteristics. These findings have implications for better understanding unhealthy relationship behaviors.
Marital delay, relationship dissolution and churning, and high divorce rates have extended the amount of time individuals in search of romantic relationships spend outside of marital unions. The scope of research on intimate partnering now includes studies of "hooking up," Internet dating, visiting relationships, cohabitation, marriage following childbirth, and serial partnering, as well as more traditional research on transitions into marriage. Collectively, we know much more about relationship formation and development, but research often remains balkanized among scholars employing different theoretical approaches, methodologies, or disciplinary perspectives. The study of relationship behavior is also segmented into particular life stages, with little attention given to linkages between stages over the life course. Recommendations for future research are offered.
This study examines changes in leisure patterns across the transition to parenthood for dual-earner, working-class couples, as well as the relationship between leisure and marital quality. To this end, 147 heterosexual couples were interviewed across the transition to parenthood. Findings indicate that during the transition to parenthood, husbands and wives experience an initial decline in leisure, followed by a gradual incline after the wife's return to work. Overall, wives who reported more shared leisure prenatally also reported more marital love and less conflict 1 year later. Husbands with more independent leisure prenatally reported less love and more conflict 1 year later. Conclusions suggest leisure time is integral to well-functioning marriages, with effects lasting throughout the first year of parenthood.
Graphical Presentation of Mean Factor Scores for the First-Order Factor Indicators of the Family Communication Patterns Latent Variable. Note: First bar in every set: mother’s mean factor score. Second bar: father’s mean factor score. Third bar: adolescent’s mean factor score. Fourth bar: sibling’s mean factor score. Bars rising above 0 represent behavior levels above the overall mean. Bars falling below 0 represent behavior levels below the overall mean.
Adoption and family communication both affect adolescent adjustment. We proposed that adoption status and family communication interact such that adopted adolescents in families with certain communication patterns are at greater risk for adjustment problems. We tested this hypothesis using a community-based sample of 384 adoptive and 208 nonadoptive families. Adolescents in these families were, on average, 16 years of age. The results supported our hypothesis. Adopted adolescents were at significantly greater risk for adjustment problems compared to nonadopted adolescents in families that emphasized conformity orientation without conversation orientation and in families that emphasized neither conformity nor conversation orientation. Adolescents in families emphasizing conversation orientation were at lower risk for adjustment problems, regardless of adoption status.
To examine the implications of fathers' occupational conditions (i.e., income, work hours, shift work, pressure, workplace racism, and underemployment) for family members' psychological adjustment, home interviews were conducted with fathers, mothers, and two adolescent offspring in each of 218 Mexican American families. Results underscored the importance of acculturation as a moderator. Fathers' income was negatively associated with depressive symptoms in highly acculturated families but not in less acculturated families. In contrast, fathers' reports of workplace racism were positively associated with depressive symptoms in less acculturated families but not in more acculturated family contexts. These findings were consistent across all 4 family members, suggesting that the "long arm" of the jobs held by Mexican American fathers extends to mothers and adolescent offspring.
This paper reviews behavioral genetic research from the past decade that has moved beyond simply studying the independent influences of genes and environments. The studies considered in this review have instead focused on understanding gene - environment interplay, including genotype - environment correlation ( rGE) and genotype × environment interaction (G × E). Studies have suggested that rGE is an important pathway through which family relationships are associated with child adjustment. Also important are direct causal influences of family relationships on child adjustment, independent of genetic confounds. Other studies have indicated that genetic and environmental influences on child adjustment are moderated by different levels of family relationships in G × E interactions. Genetically informed studies that have examined family relations have been critical to advancing our understanding of gene - environment interplay.
Sibling warmth has been identified as a protective factor from life events, but stressor-support match-mismatch and social domains perspectives suggest that sibling warmth may not efficiently protect youths from all types of life events. We tested whether sibling warmth moderated the association between each of family-wide, youths' personal, and siblings' personal life events and both depressive symptoms and risk-taking behaviors. Participants were 187 youths aged 9-18 (M = 11.80 years old, SD = 2.05). Multiple regression models revealed that sibling warmth was a protective factor from depressive symptoms for family-wide events, but not for youths' personal and siblings' personal life events. Findings highlight the importance of contextualizing protective functions of sibling warmth by taking into account the domains of stressors and adjustment.
Little attention has been paid to whether violence in adolescent romantic relationships is associated with relationship violence later in young adulthood. This study examined the continuation of intimate partner violence (IPV) from adolescence to young adulthood. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, results from negative binomial models and propensity score models showed that being victimized by relationship partners in adolescence was significantly associated with both perpetration and victimization in romantic relationships in young adulthood. Women reported higher levels of perpetration and lower levels of victimization than men did. Those who were living together (married or cohabiting) reported higher levels of victimization and perpetration than those who were dating. Further, such associations existed beyond the effects of parent-child violence and general aggression tendencies, suggesting the continuation of relationship-specific violence. Finally, these patterns persisted after controlling for participants' age, race and ethnicity, parental education, and family structure.
The authors review the literature on sibling relationships in childhood and adolescence, starting by tracing themes from foundational research and theory and then focusing on empirical research during the past 2 decades. This literature documents siblings' centrality in family life, sources of variation in sibling relationship qualities, and the significance of siblings for child and adolescent development and adjustment. Sibling influences emerge not only in the context of siblings' frequent and often emotionally intense interactions but also by virtue of siblings' role in larger family system dynamics. Although siblings are building blocks of family structure and key players in family dynamics, their role has been relatively neglected by family scholars and by those who study close relationships. Incorporating study of siblings into family research provides novel insights into the operation of families as social and socializing systems.
This study examines how the entrance of a stepfather influences adolescent ties to mothers and nonresident fathers, and how prior ties to each biological parent influences the development of stepfather-stepchild ties. Data come from 1753 adolescents in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health who lived with a single mother in Wave 1 that remained single, cohabited, or married by Wave 2, approximately one year later. Stepfamily formation had little consequence for adolescent-nonresident father ties. Adolescent-mother closeness, however, declined when cohabiting, but not married, stepfathers entered the household. Close ties to married stepfathers were more likely to develop when adolescents were closer to their mothers before stepfather entry. Prior ties to nonresident fathers were unrelated to stepfather-stepchild ties.
The present study examined trajectories of marital satisfaction among couples with adolescent children and evaluated how changes in parents' conflict over raising adolescent children were associated with changes in marital satisfaction over four years. Using a prospective, longitudinal research design and controlling for family socioeconomic status, dyadic growth curve analysis from a sample of 431 couples with adolescent children indicated that marital satisfaction decreased over time for parents with adolescent children, and that the trajectories for mothers and fathers were substantially linked. More importantly, the study demonstrated that increases or decreases in parents' marital conflict over raising adolescent children were associated with corresponding decreases or increases in marital satisfaction for both mothers and fathers.
The effects of parental attitudes, practices, and television mediation on adolescent sexual behaviors were investigated in a study of adolescent sexuality and media (N=887). Confirmatory factor analyses supported an eight-factor parenting model with television mediation factors as constructs distinct from general parenting practices. Logistic regressions indicated that adolescents reporting greater parental disapproval and limits on viewing at Wave 1 were less likely to initiate oral sex between Waves 1 and 2. Adolescents who reported more sexual communication with parents were more likely to initiate oral sex. Results for vaginal intercourse were similar to those for oral sex. Co-viewing was a significant negative predictor of initiation of sexual behavior. Parental attitudes and television mediation can delay potentially risky adolescent sexual behaviors.
To better understand the social factors that influence the diverse pathways to family formation young adults experience today, this research investigates the association between opposite-gender relationships during late adolescence and union formation in early adulthood. Using data from the first and third waves of the Add Health (n = 4,911), we show that, for both men and women, there is continuity between adolescent and adult relationship experiences. Those involved in adolescent romantic relationships at the end of high school are more likely to marry and to cohabit in early adulthood. Moreover, involvement in a nonromantic sexual relationship is positively associated with cohabitation, but not marriage. We conclude that the precursors to union formation patterns in adulthood are observable in adolescence.
Research suggests that adult marriages confer benefits. Does marriage following a teenage birth confer benefits similar to those observed for adults? Longitudinal data from a community sample of 235 young women who gave birth as unmarried adolescents were used to examine this question. Controlling for socioeconomic status and preexisting "benefits," we found that marriage conferred small, though statistically significant, benefits with regard to less economic adversity and less marijuana and polydrug use but no observable benefits with regard to alcohol or other drug use, poverty, psychological well-being, or high school completion, in contrast to prior findings. We conclude that in addition to the marriage benefits observed, stable intimate relationships, whether marital or not, appear to confer psychological benefits in this sample.
Adolescent depression may be associated with future relationship problems that have long-term consequences given the developmental importance and health benefits of forming committed unions in emerging adulthood. The authors examined associations between emotional and behavioral indicators of adolescent depression (depressive symptoms, alcohol problems, and suicidal ideation) and romantic relationship and union formation and dissolution in emerging adulthood (n = 14,146) using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Adolescent alcohol problems were associated with more romantic relationships in emerging adulthood. Emerging adults with depressive symptoms or alcohol problems in adolescence were significantly more likely to enter into a cohabiting union, and those with adolescent alcohol problems were less likely to marry. Cohabiting emerging adults with a history of adolescent depressive symptoms were less likely to marry, whereas suicidal ideation was associated with a decreased likelihood of cohabitation dissolution. Implications for future research are discussed.
Using data from 453 adolescents in Wave 2 of the National Survey of Families and Households, we examine how multiple dimensions of nonresident father involvement are associated with different dimensions of child well-being. Father-child relationship quality and responsive fathering are modestly associated with fewer externalizing and internalizing problems among adolescents. The quality of the mother-child relationship, however, has stronger effects on child well-being. Nevertheless, even if adolescents have weak ties to mothers, those who have strong ties to nonresident fathers exhibit fewer internalizing problems and less acting out at school than adolescents who have weak ties to both parents. Adolescents are worst off on a range of outcomes when they have weak ties to both their mothers and nonresident fathers.
Adolescents who share meals with their parents score better on a range of well-being indicators. Using three waves of the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health (N = 17,977), we assessed the causal nature of these associations and the extent to which they persist into adulthood. We examined links between family dinners and adolescent mental health, substance use, and delinquency at wave 1, accounting for detailed measures of the family environment to test whether family meals simply proxy for other family processes. As a more stringent test of causality, we estimated fixed effects models from waves 1 and 2, and we used wave 3 to explore persistence in the influence of family dinners. Associations between family dinners and adolescent well-being remained significant, net of controls, and some held up to stricter tests of causality. Beyond indirect benefits via earlier well-being, however, family dinners associations did not persist into adulthood.
Three-Way Interaction Between Antisocial Behavior, Coparenting Conflict, and Adolescent Gender Predicting Mothers' Negativity at Wave 2.
Interaction Between Coparenting Conflict and Adolescent Antisocial Behavior at Wave 1 Predicting Adolescent Antisocial Behavior at Wave 2.
This study addresses two limitations of coparenting research: first, little research on coparenting has been conducted with families of adolescents, and second, there is little understanding regarding the child and family contexts in which coparenting is most salient. The longitudinal relation of coparenting conflict to parenting and adolescent maladjustment across 3 years was investigated among 516 2-parent, 2-adolescent families. Coparenting conflict predicted as much or more unique variance in parenting and adolescent adjustment as did marital quality and disagreement together. After controlling for stability, coparenting conflict predicted mothers' and fathers' negativity and adolescent antisocial behavior (but not depression). Importantly, the influence of coparenting conflict in all cases varied as a function of family type, adolescent gender, or initial level of antisocial behavior, or all. The implications of these results for family processes in different relational and developmental contexts are discussed.
We investigated correlates of adolescents' sibling conflict resolution strategies in 246, two-parent Mexican origin families. Specifically, we examined links between siblings' conflict resolution strategies and sibling dyad characteristics, siblings' cultural orientations and values, and sibling relationship qualities. Data were gathered during home interviews with adolescent siblings. Older siblings were more likely to use controlling strategies whereas younger siblings were more likely to use nonconfrontation strategies. Cultural orientations and familism values were positively linked to siblings' solution orientation. Solution orientation strategies were associated with sibling intimacy, and control strategies were related to sibling negativity. Discussion highlights the importance of considering the cultural context in which sibling relationships are embedded.
To understand the consequences of adolescent pregnancy and childbearing for the family, 189 mothers from three types offamilies were studied: families in which all teenage daughters had never been pregnant, families in which only one teenager was currently pregnant, and families in which only one teenager had delivered a baby within the previous 6 months. in the latter two family types, the current pregnancy or childbearing was the first to occur in the family. Mothers were assessed twice, 13 months apart. Results indicated that, compared with the mothers of never-pregnant teens, the mothers of parenting teens monitored their children less. expected less of their older daughters, and were more accepting of teenage childbearing. Across-time analyses showed that, in families in which the teenager was initially pregnant, mothers monitored and communicated less with their other children and were more accepting of teenage sex after the older daughter gave birth. In families in which the teenager was initially parenting, mothers perceived more difficulty for their teenage daughters and reported being less strict with their other children across time.
This study examined three key issues related to the effects of sisters' and girlfriends' sexual and childbearing behavior on early adolescent girls' sexual outcomes. Subjects were 455 girls from predominantly minority racial backgrounds. Results indicated that number of sexually active girlfriends, number of sexually active sisters, and presence of an adolescent childbearing sister were positively associated with permissive sexual attitudes, positive intentions for future sexual activity, and a greater likelihood of being a nonvirgin. The strength of these relationships did not vary by race, but there was a greater presence of permissive social influences for African American girls than for nonblack girls. Results from multiple hierarchical regression analyses indicated that having both many sexually active girlfriends and an adolescent childbearing sister had particularly strong effects on permissive sexual attitudes and a nonvirgin status.
This study compared men's and women's pathways to adulthood by examining how role transitions in education, work, marriage, and parenthood intersect and form developmental pathways from ages 18-30. The study investigated how sociodemographic factors and adolescent experiences were associated with these pathways. We used latent class analysis to analyze longitudinal data from a gender-balanced panel of 808 contemporary young adults. We found three similar latent pathways for both genders, but men and women differed in the timing of marriage and when they began to live with children and the likelihood of combining both roles. The present study points to the continued, though differential, relevance of marriage and family in the transition to adulthood for men and women.
Empirical evidence and conventional wisdom suggest that family dinners are associated with positive outcomes for youth. Recent research using fixed-effects models as a more stringent test of causality suggests a more limited role of family meals in protecting children from risk. Estimates of average effects, however, may mask important variation in the link between family meals and well-being; in particular, family meals may be more or less helpful based on the quality of family relationships. Using 2 waves of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (N = 17,977), this study extended recent work to find that family dinners have little benefit when parent-child relationships are weak but contribute to fewer depressive symptoms and less delinquency among adolescents when family relationships are strong. The findings highlight the importance of attending to variation when assessing what helps and what hurts in families.
Structural Equation Model With Adolescents' and Mothers' Reports of Social Support at Wave 1 (W1), Interacting With Adolescents' Reports of Self-Esteem at W1, to Predict Adolescents' and Mothers' Reports of Perceived Parenting Efficacy at Wave 2 (W2). Note: Control variables are enclosed in dashed rectangles. For nativity, 0 = Mexico born, 1 = U.S. born. For coresidence, 0 = Adolescent and mother do not coreside, 1 = Adolescent and mother coreside. Dashed lines represent nonsignificant paths. Standardized coefficients are presented. All exogenous variables were allowed to covary. *p < .05. **p < .01. ***p < .001.
Adolescent Reports of Self-Esteem Moderating the Relation Between Adolescent Reports of Social Support at Wave 1 (W1) and Perceived Parenting Efficacy at Wave 2 (W2; Top Panel) and Between Mother Reports of Social Support at W1 and Perceived Parenting Efficacy at W2 (Bottom Panel). Note: The asterisks denote a significant slope at p < .05. High and low scores were defined as those that were 1 SD above or below the mean, respectively.
Guided by a risk and resilience framework, this study used a prospective longitudinal, multiple-reporter design to examine how social support from a mother figure during pregnancy interacted with Mexican-origin adolescent mothers' self-esteem to inform their parenting efficacy when their children were 10 months old. Using reports of perceived social support by adolescent mothers (M age = 16.24, SD =099) and their mother figures (M age = 40.84, SD = 7.04) in 205 dyads, and controlling for demographic factors (i.e., adolescent age, adolescent nativity, family income, mothers' educational attainment, adolescent-mother coresidence) and adolescents' social support from a significant other, findings indicated that social support during pregnancy was positively associated with adolescent mothers' future parenting efficacy when adolescent mothers had relatively lower self-esteem. Findings were consistent for adolescents' and mothers' reports, and emphasize the value of social support from a mother figure among adolescent mothers with lower self-esteem. Implications for interventions are presented.
Cross-lagged Path Model Used to Analyze the Reciprocal Effects Between Adolescents' Evaluations of Their Pregnancy and Their Mental Health (Top Panel) and Quality of Parenting (Bottom Panel).
Cross-lagged Path Model Results for Childbearing Regret and Parenting Stress. Note: Significant Standardized Parameter Estimates are Shown. Solid Paths are Significant; Dotted Paths are Nonsignificant. *p < .05. ***p < .001.
The authors used cross-lagged analyses to examine the across-time influences on and consequences of adolescents' pregnancy intentions, wantedness, and regret. One hundred pregnant Latina adolescents were studied during pregnancy and at 6 and 12 months postpartum. The results revealed 4 main findings: (a) similar to what has been found in adult women, adolescents' lower prenatal pregnancy intendedness and wantedness predicted initial difficulties in parenting; (b) frequent depression symptoms predicted subsequent lower pregnancy intendedness and wantedness; (c) adolescents' poor mental health and harsh parenting of their child predicted subsequent higher childbearing regret, and (d) high childbearing regret and parenting stress were reciprocally related across time. In addition, adolescents' wantedness of their pregnancy declined prenatally to postbirth, and strong pregnancy intendedness and wantedness were not concurrently related to adolescents' poor prenatal mental health. The findings reveal how adolescents' thoughts and feelings about their pregnancies are influenced by and predictive of their mental health and parenting experiences.
We used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (N = 7,686) to determine whether racial and ethnic differences in socioeconomic stress and social protection explained group differences in the association between family structure instability and three risk behaviors for White, Black, and Mexican American adolescents: delinquent behavior, age at first nonmarital sex, and age at first nonmarital birth. The positive association between mothers' union transitions and each outcome for White adolescents was attenuated by social protection. The association of instability with age at first sex and first nonmarital birth was weaker for Black adolescents, but not for Mexican American adolescents. The weaker association was explained by Black adolescents' more frequent exposure to socioeconomic stress in the context of union instability.
Using data from a sample of 1,149 adolescents in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health who have both a resident stepfather and a nonresident biological father, this study examines the prevalence, antecedents, and consequences of adolescents' closeness to their stepfathers and nonresident fathers. Findings demonstrate that adolescents vary greatly in their likelihood of having close relationships with one or both of their fathers, but when they do so, they appear to benefit. Close relationships with both stepfathers and nonresident fathers are associated with better adolescent outcomes, with ties to stepfathers being somewhat more influential than ties to nonresident fathers.
This study examined sons' and daughters' involvement with nonresident fathers and associated outcomes (N=4,663). Results indicate that sons and daughters report equal involvement with nonresident fathers on most measures of father investment, although sons report more overnight visits, sports, and movies, and feeling closer to their fathers compared to daughters. Sons and daughters generally benefit from nonresident father involvement in the same way in internalizing and externalizing problems and grades. However, feeling close to one's nonresident father is associated with lower internalizing problems for daughters than sons. These findings suggest that nonresident fathers should be encouraged to be equally involved with their sons and daughters, as such involvement is associated with higher levels of well-being for both sons and daughters.
Recent research demonstrates that perceptions of gender mistrust are implicated in lower marriage rates among low-income populations. Yet few quantitative studies have examined the factors predicting gender mistrust during adolescence and whether it influences the quality of subsequent nonmarital romantic relationships. Analysis of three waves of data from the Toledo Adolescent Relationships Study (N = 1,106) indicates that in addition to neighborhood poverty rates, parents' own gender mistrust and parent-child relationship quality are related to adolescents' gender mistrust, suggesting that parents play an important role in influencing adolescents' developing feelings of gender mistrust. Perceptions of gender mistrust are not related to whether adolescents are involved in dating relationships, but are linked to higher levels of jealousy and verbal conflict in adolescents' subsequent romantic relationships, albeit only for male adolescents.
Drawing on a symbolic-interaction perspective and a compensation model, the processes linking mother-and father-adolescent relationship qualities, deviant peer affiliations, and adolescents' sexual intentions were investigated for 246 Mexican-origin youths born in the United States and in Mexico using multiple-group structural equation models. Deviant peer affiliations significantly mediated the relations between paternal acceptance and sexual intentions and between disclosure to mothers and sexual intentions for U.S.-born youths but not for Mexico-born youths. Findings highlight the importance of examining variability as a function of youth nativity.
This study draws on social control and social learning theories to examine the role of dating-specific attitudes and practices as predictors of adolescents' sexual initiation. We include attention to the adolescent's reaction to control attempts as a further means of assessing family dynamics (i.e., frequency of dating disagreements). The study uses longitudinal data from 697 adolescents who were not sexually active at the first interview as well as separate interviews with parents. In models that include all parenting variables, parental caring, parents' preferences that the child should delay sex, and the frequency of dating disagreements are significant predictors of initiation of teen sexual activity.
We use data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and the Adolescent Health and Academic Achievement Study to estimate how parents' union dissolution influences changes in adolescents' mathematics course work gains, overall grade point average, and course failure rates during a window of approximately 1 year (N = 2,629). A primary purpose of this study is demonstrating the utility of propensity score matching techniques for studying topics such as ours that pose methodological challenges such as dealing with endogeneity and selection bias. We compare propensity score matching techniques to ordinary least squares (OLS) regression methods to show and discuss comparability of results obtained using these different procedures. Findings suggest that associations between parents' union dissolution and achievement may be causal, regardless of method used.
The family stress model posits that contextual stressors, such as neighborhood danger, negatively influence youth adjustment, including internalizing symptoms, via disruptions in parenting and family processes. The current study examined a culturally and contextually modified family stress model in a diverse sample of Mexican origin fathers and their children (N = 463) from the Southwestern U.S. Results supported the hypothesized negative influence of neighborhood danger on youth internalizing symptoms via disruptions in family cohesion. Paternal warmth did not play a role in linking contextual stress to outcomes. The role of harsh parenting was highly nuanced. Results suggest that both culture and context have the potential to moderate putative family stress model associations for specific parenting behaviors and further our understanding of the ways that culture and context may operate in models of family stress and youth outcomes.
Using latent profile analysis, this study examined patterns of mother-father involvement in adolescents' peer relationships along three dimensions, support, guidance, and restrictions, in 240 Mexican-origin families. Three profiles were identified: (a) High Mother Involvement (mothers higher than fathers on all three dimensions); (b) High Support/Congruent (mothers and fathers reported the highest levels of peer support and similar levels of guidance and restrictions); and (c) Differentiated (more guidance and restrictions by fathers than by mothers, similar levels of parent support). These profiles were linked to mothers' and fathers' familism values, traditional patriarchal gender role attitudes, and socioeconomic status, and to adolescents' friendship intimacy and risky behaviors measured longitudinally from early to late adolescence. Adolescent gender moderated the linkages between parents' involvement in adolescents' peer relationships and youth adjustment.
Although children's provision of family assistance is a common routine, little is understood about the day-to-day variability that may exist in children's assistance behaviors. Guided by a family systems framework, the current study examined whether Mexican American adolescents' provision of family assistance was contingent on daily maternal need. Adolescents (N = 354, 49% males, M age = 14.96 years) and their mothers (M age = 41.55 years) each completed reports on 14 consecutive days. The results indicated that adolescents generally responded to maternal need, being more likely to help their families on days when their mothers worked or felt fatigued. This daily contingency was modified by family and adolescent characteristics, with adolescents thought to generally engage in low levels of assistance (i.e., youngest males and those in families with little economic strain) increasing their help when their mothers were fatigued. In contrast, daily maternal work did not appear to stimulate greater assistance among families with low levels of economic strain.
Koerner & Fitzpatrick's (2006) Family Communication Patterns Model, Based on the Crossing of the Two Dimensions
Previous research has demonstrated the protective effect of family and sibling closeness on child adjustment, but fewer studies have investigated how closeness is promoted within families. Guided by Family Communication Patterns Theory, we tested the association between family communication and sibling emotional and behavioral closeness, and whether adoptive status moderated this relationship. Participating families included 616 adoptive and non-adoptive families with two adolescent children. Hypotheses were tested using structural equation modeling. Sibling closeness was highest in families that emphasized both conversation and conformity and lowest in families that emphasized only conversation or neither conversation nor conformity. Emotional and behavioral closeness were differentially associated with adoption status, sibling age, and sibling gender. Few moderating effects of adoption status were found. Post hoc analyses showed moderating effects of sibling gender composition.
This study examined associations between adult children's cumulative problems and their parents' psychological and relational well-being, as well as whether such associations are similar for married and single parents. Regression models were estimated using data from 1,188 parents in the 1995 National Survey of Midlife in the United States whose youngest child was at least 19 years old. Participants reporting children with more problems indicated moderately poorer levels of well-being across all outcomes examined. Single parents reporting more problems indicated less positive affect than a comparable group of married parents, but married parents reporting more problems indicated poorer parent-child relationship quality. Findings are congruent with the family life course perspective, conceptualizing parents and children as occupying mutually influential developmental trajectories.
Using data from The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, this study examined intimate partner violence (IPV) and drinking partnerships in 741 young adults in male-female dating, cohabitating, and married relationships. Cluster analyses revealed four similar kinds of drinking partnerships: (a) congruent light and infrequent, (b) discrepant male heavy and frequent, (c) discrepant female heavy and infrequent, and (d) congruent moderate/heavy-frequent drinkers. Overall, there were no significant main effect differences across relationship type and clusters. The type of relationship and the type of drinking partnership interacted with contexts examined (i.e., type of violence severity, gender, and whether the violence was perpetration or victimization). Given the severity of IPV in couple relationships, additional empirical attention to drinking partnerships is warranted.
This study examines main effect and interactive models of the relations between marital conflict, divorce, and parent-adult child relationships, and gender differences in these relations. Data were drawn from a longitudinal study of a community sample (N = 585). Parental marital conflict and divorce were measured from age 5 through age 17. Mother-child and father-child relationship quality at age 22 was assessed in terms of Closeness-Support and Conflict-Control. Results indicate that both marital conflict and divorce were associated with poorer quality of parent-adult child relationships. Divorce moderated the link between marital conflict and subsequent negativity in mother-child relationships, with the estimated effects being stronger in continuously married families than in divorced families, especially for women.
We work from a life-course perspective to explore how relationships with parents affect adult children's marital quality. We further ask whether the effects of parents on adult children's marital quality depend on the adult child's gender, age, marital duration, and childhood family experiences. Growth-curve analysis of national, longitudinal data (Americans' Changing Lives) indicated that relationships with fathers (n = 336) and mothers (n = 520) differentially affected the marital quality of adult children over time. Findings suggest that the effects of the parent - adult child relationship on adult children's marriages depend on age, marital duration, and levels of family stress experienced in childhood.
Parents' differentiation has been linked to negative psychological and behavioral outcomes in children, adolescents, and young adults. This line of research, however, has not been extended to families in later life. In this article, we use data from 671 mother-child dyads in 275 families in the greater Boston area to explore whether mothers' differentiation among their children is related to psychological well-being among offspring. We examined actual and perceived maternal differentiation in the domains of closeness, expectations for care, and conflict. We hypothesized that depressive symptoms would be higher when mothers differentiated among their children and when adult children perceived differentiation. Although the specific patterns varied somewhat by mothers' and children's reports, the findings indicated that across all three domains, maternal differentiation was related to higher depression scores.
Parental differential treatment has been linked to individual well-being and sibling relationship quality in childhood, adolescence, and middle adulthood, but has not been examined in young adulthood. Data were collected from 151 pairs of young adult siblings (N = 302, Mean age = 23.90, SD = 5.02). Two siblings in each family reported on treatment from mothers and fathers, depressive symptoms, and sibling relationship quality. Using multi-level modeling, analyses examined the role of favoritism and the magnitude of differential treatment from both mothers and fathers. Offspring who reported receiving less support relative to their sibling (i.e., less favored) reported more depressive symptoms. Greater amounts of differential treatment were associated with less sibling intimacy. Several associations, however, varied by parent gender, sibling gender composition, and the magnitude of differential treatment. Results suggest that favoritism and magnitude of differential treatment from both mothers and fathers are salient in young adulthood.
Literature from multiple disciplines suggests that women who are obese during early adulthood may accumulate social and physiological impediments to childbearing across their reproductive lives. This led the authors to investigate whether obese young women have different lifetime childbearing experiences than leaner peers by analyzing data from 1,658 female participants in the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. Study sample members were nulliparous women ages 20 - 25 in 1982. The authors examined their childbearing experiences between 1982 and 2006 and found that young women who were obese at baseline had higher odds of remaining childless and increased odds of underachieving fertility intentions than young women who were normal weight at baseline. These results suggest that obesity has long-term ramifications for women's childbearing experiences, with respect to whether and how many children women have in general and relative to the number of children they want.
Top-cited authors
Sandra L. Hofferth
  • University of Maryland, College Park
John F. Sandberg
  • George Washington University
Scott Coltrane
  • University of Oregon
Wendy D. Manning
  • Bowling Green State University
Alan Acock
  • Oregon State University