ArticlePDF Available

Mapping developmental changes in perceived parent–adolescent relationship quality throughout middle school and high school

Authors:

Abstract and Figures

This study examined changes in adolescents’ perceived relationship quality with mothers and fathers from middle school to high school, gender differences, and associated mental health consequences using longitudinal data from the New England Study of Suburban Youth cohort ( n = 262, 48% female) with annual assessments (Grades 6–12). For both parents, alienation increased, and trust and communication decreased from middle school to high school, with greater changes among girls. Overall, closeness to mothers was higher than with fathers. Girls, compared to boys, perceived more trust and communication and similar levels of alienation with mothers at Grade 6. Girls perceived stronger increases in alienation from both parents and stronger declines in trust with mothers during middle school. Increasing alienation from both parents and less trust with mothers at Grade 6 was associated with higher levels of anxiety at Grade 12. Less trust with both parents at Grade 6 and increasing alienation and decreasing trust with mothers in high school were associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms at Grade 12. Overall, girls reported having higher levels of anxiety at Grade 12 compared to boys. Findings on the course of the quality of parent–adolescent relationships over time are discussed in terms of implications for more targeted research and interventions.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Regular Article
Mapping developmental changes in perceived parentadolescent
relationship quality throughout middle school and high school
Ashley M. Ebbert, Frank J. Infurna and Suniya S. Luthar
Arizona State University
Abstract
This study examined changes in adolescentsperceived relationship quality with mothers and fathers from middle school to high school,
gender differences, and associated mental health consequences using longitudinal data from the New England Study of Suburban Youth
cohort (n= 262, 48% female) with annual assessments (Grades 612). For both parents, alienation increased, and trust and communication
decreased from middle school to high school, with greater changes among girls. Overall, closeness to mothers was higher than with fathers.
Girls, compared to boys, perceived more trust and communication and similar levels of alienation with mothers at Grade 6. Girls perceived
stronger increases in alienation from both parents and stronger declines in trust with mothers during middle school. Increasing alienation
from both parents and less trust with mothers at Grade 6 was associated with higher levels of anxiety at Grade 12. Less trust with both
parents at Grade 6 and increasing alienation and decreasing trust with mothers in high school were associated with higher levels of depres-
sive symptoms at Grade 12. Overall, girls reported having higher levels of anxiety at Grade 12 compared to boys. Findings on the course of
the quality of parentadolescent relationships over time are discussed in terms of implications for more targeted research and interventions.
Keywords: adolescence, internalizing disorders, parentchild relationships, relationship quality
The affectional bonds between children and their parents are a
highly studied mechanism for explaining individual development
across the life span (Allen, 2008; Armsden & Greenberg, 1987),
and show variations across stages of child development.
According to attachment theory (Bowlby, 1982), parentchild rela-
tionships provide a foundation for development (Collins & Laursen,
2004a; Steinberg, 2001) and continue to serve as primary influences
beyond infancy and into adolescence (Buist, Deković, Meeus, & van
Aken, 2002). Contrary to stable attachment representations formed
in infancy and early childhood (Berry, Barrowclough, & Wearden,
2007;Ross&Spinner,2001), parentchild relationships in adoles-
cence follow diverse trajectories and undergo changes in patterns
of interacting (Buist et al., 2002; Steinberg & Silk, 2002). In general,
parentadolescent relationships commonly follow a declining trend
throughout the course of adolescence, marked by decreases in close-
ness and increases in emotional distance as adolescents face devel-
opmental challenges (Steinberg & Morris, 2001). In prior work on
adolescent attachment, the declining quality of parentadolescent
relationships has been strongly linked to internalizing problems,
such as depression and anxiety (e.g., Luthar & Barkin, 2012).
Although a great deal of research has focused on adolescence as
a significant period for studying the quality of parentchild relation-
ships, relatively little is known concerning the specific course of
changes in perceived relationship quality and its implications for
developmental outcomes (Ainsworth, 1989;Buistetal.,2002).
Even less is known about the risk and protective processes in a
group that has been identified among those most at-risk”—follow-
ing teens exposed to poverty, trauma, and discriminationthat is,
youth attending high-achieving schools, mostly from affluent fami-
lies (Geisz & Nakashian, 2018). It is now well established that these
youth are at an elevated risk for an array of adjustment problems
(e.g.,depressionandanxiety;seeLuthar,Barkin,&Crossman,
2013; Luthar, Small, & Ciciolla, 2018). With regard to what might
buffer them against stress, resilience research has shown that across
diverse at-risk circumstances, the single most powerful protective
factor is having a strong, supportive relationship with at least one
caregiver (Cicchetti, 2012;Luthar&Eisenberg,2017;Masten,2001).
Accordingly, in this study, our first aim was to track changes in
felt attachment to both parents in a sample of high-achieving stu-
dents across seven annual assessments, spanning age 12 through
age 18. Our second aim was to explore whether such changes in
perceived relationship quality differed by parent and child gender.
Finally, for our third aim, we sought to illuminate which particu-
lar dimensions of felt attachment to parents might most affect
long-term adjustment of anxiety and depression, and also,
whether effects were similar for mothers versus fathers. In discus-
sions that follow, we elaborate on each of our major goals.
Changes in Perceived ParentChild Relationship Quality in
Adolescence
A major aim of this study was to track changes in felt attachment
to both parents across the period of adolescence spanning middle
through high school. During this transitional period, parentchild
relationships play an integral role in supporting developmental
Author for correspondence: Ashley M. Ebbert, Arizona State University, Department
of Psychology, 950 South McAllister Avenue, Tempe, AZ 85287; E-mail: aebbert@asu.edu.
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2018
Cite this article: Ebbert AM, Infurna FJ, Luthar SS (2018). Mapping developmental
changes in perceived parentadolescent relationship quality throughout middle school
and high school. Development and Psychopathology 116. https://doi.org/10.1017/
S0954579418001219
Development and Psychopathology (2018), 116
doi:10.1017/S0954579418001219
changes embedded in adolescence (Allen & Land, 1999).
However, the developmental demands and changes implicit in
adolescence provide for a potentially challenging and stressful
environment (Cicchetti & Rogosch, 2002). Developmental
changes embedded in adolescence, such as biological, cognitive,
and social changes, influence unique aspects of parentchild rela-
tionships (Laursen & Collins, 2004; Steinberg & Silk, 2002). For
example, puberty plays a role in transforming relationships, as a
result of cognitive and physical changes designed to initiate a
restructuring of the behavioral system (Blakemore, Burnett, &
Dahl, 2010; De Goede, Branje, & Meeus, 2008; Sisk & Foster,
2004) and necessitate a reorganization of relationships with par-
ents (Collins & Repinski, 1994; Kobak, Rosenthal, Zajac, &
Madsen, 2007). In addition, autonomy-related changes contribute
to an adjustment of relationships and changing family dynamics
(Allen, 2008; Meeus, Iedema, Maassen, & Engels, 2005; Parrigon,
Kerns, Abtahi, & Koehn, 2015).
As adolescents move toward increasing independence from
their parents, parentchild relationships converge toward more
egalitarian relationships (Allen, 2008; Meeus et al., 2005;
Parrigon et al., 2015). The transition to more equality in par-
entadolescent relationships is accompanied by changes in sup-
port and conflict (De Goede et al., 2008). Previous studies
examining changes in parentchild relationship quality have
found that perceived closeness and support declines during ado-
lescence (e.g., Feinberg, McHale, Crouter, & Cumsille, 2003;
Helsen, Vollebergh, & Meeus, 2000; Nickerson & Nagle, 2004,
2005; Shanahan, McHale, Osgood, & Crouter, 2007). However,
adolescentsdesire for autonomy is less about disengaging from
parental control and more about engaging in family decision
making and aligning assumptions and beliefs that shape relation-
ship dynamics within the family (Collins, Laursen, Mortensen,
Luebker, & Ferreira, 1997; Eccles et al., 1993). Despite their grow-
ing autonomy, adolescents continue to rely on their parents for
social and emotional support (Berry et al., 2007; Raudino,
Fergusson, & Horwood, 2013). Further, the quality of parentado-
lescent relationships continues to be relevant (e.g., Steinberg,
2001) and even becomes increasingly prominent as adolescents
navigate these developmental changes (Allen, 2008).
Assessment of relationship quality
How relationship quality is measured depends on the develop-
mental period under study, and on which respondentsperspec-
tives are of central interest (De Goede et al., 2008).
Observational techniques are predominantly used in infancy stud-
ies on parentchild relationships and sometimes with older chil-
dren (Ainsworth, 1989). However, it is self-report measures that
are the method of choice when the goal is to capture the adoles-
centssubjectively experienced quality of relationship with each
parent (Armsden & Greenberg, 1987; Luthar et al., 2013).
Unlike infants, adolescents have developed the cognitive capacity
to reflect upon and evaluate the quality of their relationship with
their parents (Allen, McElhaney, Kuperminc, & Jodl, 2004).
The specific attachment dimensions we measured were those
captured by the Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment
(IPPA; Armsden & Greenberg, 1987), which was conceptually
grounded in Bowlbys attachment theory research, and designed
to assess adolescentsperceptions of the positive and negative
aspects of relationship quality with mothers and with fathers.
The IPPA measures specific dimensions of affective relationship
quality across three subscales: alienation (feelings of alienation
and isolation), trust (parental understanding and acceptance,
respect, and mutual trust), and communication (extent and qual-
ity of verbal communication with parents) within each relation-
ship (Armsden & Greenberg, 1987). Extending beyond the
traditional qualities of attachment security relevant in early child-
hood (Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, & Wall, 1978), the IPPA closely
tracks the affective and cognitive dimensions of adolescentsper-
ceptions of relationships with their parents (Armsden &
Greenberg, 1987). The IPPA measure also assesses both the
childs perspective of the childs regard for the parent and the
childs perspective of the parents regard for the child (e.g.,
trust: I trust my mother/fathercompared to My mother/father
understands me).
Armsden and Greenberg specifically focused on unique fea-
tures of parentadolescent relationships (e.g., alienation, trust,
and communication), given the changes taking place during ado-
lescence. Alienation, measuring emotional and behavioral with-
drawal from parents, may transpire from a sense of adolescent
dissatisfaction with the amount of help they need versus the
amount of help their parents think they need at this stage of
development. Trust, assessing the level of understanding and
respect, as well as accessibility, responsivity, and predictability
and consistency of parents, is critical during a time when family
dynamics and roles are changing as adolescents are trying to nav-
igate increasing autonomy. Finally, communication, the extent
and quality of verbal communication with parents, has important
implications for assessing the quality of parentchild relation-
ships, due to the need to communicate about interpersonal and
psychological changes taking place during adolescence.
The role of affluence in parentadolescent relationships
There is growing evidence that affluent youth, raised in upper-
middle class, white-collar families are a newly identified at-risk
group(Koplewicz, Gurian, & Williams, 2009, p. 1053; Geisz &
Nakashian, 2018). Recent evidence suggests that youth in high-
achieving schools who are generally from affluent families face
several unacknowledged pressures, (Luthar & Kumar, 2018).
Studies have shown a u-shaped link between school level affluence
and adjustment problems, indicating challenges at both socio-
economic extremes (Coley, Sims, Dearing, & Spielvogel, 2017;
Lund, Dearing, & Zachrisson, 2017). We know that for both
sets of youth, parenting matters, but several questions merit fur-
ther attention. In prior efforts to understand risk and protective
processes among affluent youth, there have been suggestions,
for example, that there are stronger ramifications for the quality
of relationships with mothers as opposed to fathers, but these
have been based on cross-sectional data and using global scores
of attachment (Luthar & Barkin, 2012). In the present study, we
provide more thorough and rigorous tests of this suggestion, via
prospective analyses spanning seven annual assessments.
One of the potential causes of distress among affluent youth is
excessive achievement pressures (Luthar & Kumar, 2018). In
affluent communities, there is often an unspoken emphasis on
ensuring that children secure admission to elite colleges. As a
result, many adolescents feel highly driven to excel, not only at
academics, but also at multiple extracurricular activities, with
these pressures beginning as early as the middle school years. In
addition, childrens own maladaptive perfectionist strivings, char-
acterized by an extreme manifestation of achievement failures as
personal failures, contribute to elevated levels of achievement
pressures. Children with maladaptive perfectionism and parents
2 A. M. Ebbert, F. J. Infurna, and S. S. Luthar
who value accomplishments disproportionately to personal char-
acter have been shown to have relatively high depression and anx-
iety (Ciciolla, Curlee, Karageorge, & Luthar, 2017; Luthar &
Becker, 2002).
Aside from achievement pressures, another potential cause of
adjustment disturbances among affluent youth could be discon-
nection and isolation from adults, both literal and emotional.
Among upper-middle-class families, schedules tend to be very
packed, which can sharply diminish the amount of down
timeshared between adolescents and their parents (Luthar
et al., 2013; Luthar & Ciciolla, 2016). With quantity of time
spent together often being limited, the quality of relationships
with parents, on both positive and negative dimensions, would
logically carry considerable significance for adolescentsadjust-
ment (Luthar & Kumar, 2018).
The Role of Gender in Perceived ParentChild Relationship
Quality in Adolescence
Different patterns of change observed within parentchild rela-
tionships may depend on the gender of the adolescent and parent
(Biblarz & Stacey, 2010). Although most studies have focused on
the relationship with mothers or combined assessment scores
across both parents (Ruhl, Dolan, & Buhrmester, 2015; Sheeber,
Hops, & Davis, 2001), the few studies that have looked at mothers
and fathers separately have demonstrated that beyond infancy,
perceived relationship quality is uniquely tailored to each parent
(Ainsworth, 1989; Cabrera, Fitzgerald, Bradley, & Roggman,
2014). For example, some studies have found that adolescent rela-
tionships with mothers are typically more secure and of higher
quality than those with fathers (e.g., Luthar & Barkin, 2012).
Previous research examining the critical importance of relation-
ships with mothers has consistently found that adolescents feel
that their mothers know them better than their fathers (Collins
& Russell, 1991).
Traditionally, across diverse cultural contexts, mothers have
been regarded as the primary caregivers (e.g., Bowlby, 1982;
Collins & Russell, 1991; Steinberg & Silk, 2002). Even in more
contemporary families where both parents are employed, mothers
are still considered to be the primary caregivers (Gamble &
Roberts, 2005; Luthar & Barkin, 2012). In general, mothers tend
to engage in more frequent interactions with their children and are
more responsive (Baumrind, 1991; Lewis & Lamb, 2003), whereas
fathers tend to have more distant relationships with their children
and are more demanding (Baumrind, 1991). These findings are
most likely a reflection of differences in time spent with each
parent. In affluent communities, children are even more likely
to spend more time with their mothers than with their fathers,
as fathers are typically the primary wage earners with highly
demanding jobs that require them to spend a significant amount
of time away from families (Luthar & Ciciolla, 2016; Luthar &
Kumar, 2018). As a result of constantly shifting routines, the rela-
tionship quality between fathers and their children is often nega-
tively impacted (Luthar et al., 2013).
In addition, adolescent girls, compared to adolescent boys,
report feeling closer to their mothers and tend to experience
higher quality relationships with both parents (e.g., Hay &
Ashman, 2003; Kenny, 1994). Even though mothers and daugh-
ters are more likely to engage in conflict and disagreement com-
pared to mothers and sons during adolescence (e.g., Collins &
Laursen, 2004b; Laursen, 2005), conflict is a normative part of
parentchild relationships in adolescence and does not
significantly influence adolescentsperceptions of parental
relationship quality (De Goede et al., 2008). Further, studies
have found that compared to boys, girls have greater emotional
needs (Cyranowski, Frank, Young, & Shear, 2000; Rudolph,
2002) and exhibit stronger relationships with both parents overall
(Buist et al., 2002). Similar studies have found that adolescents
typically have closer relationships with their same-sex parents
(Laursen & Collins, 2004), whereas others have failed to find
any gender differences among these relationships (Laible &
Carlo, 2004).
Mixed findings, such as these previously described, point to
the need for longitudinal studies to explore the effects of gender
on changes in parental relationship quality throughout adoles-
cence (Ruhl et al., 2015; Simons & Conger, 2007). In the present
study, therefore, a prospective research design that included a
consistent, validated measure of perceived relationship quality
across seven annual assessments (spanning age 12 through age
18) will demonstrate whether gender differences exist among
parentadolescent relationships.
Developmental Linkages of ParentAdolescent Relationship
Quality to Mental Health
In general, secure relationships with parents in adolescence
predicts greater life satisfaction, better adjustment, and less psy-
chological distress (e.g., Armsden & Greenberg, 1987; Laible,
Carlo, & Raffaelli, 2000). Adolescents who experience indifferent
or neglectful parenting have been found to demonstrate signifi-
cant deficits in mental health and psychosocial development
(Steinberg & Silk, 2002). Among affluent youth, psychosocial
adjustment problems commonly occur when parents are per-
ceived as being insufficiently involved in the lives of their children
(Luthar et al., 2013; Luthar & Kumar, 2018). As suggested earlier
in this paper, we believe that the strength of the parentadolescent
relationship over time will be associated with key domains of psy-
chological functioning, specifically, internalizing indices of anxi-
ety and depression, at late adolescence. Anxiety and depression
are among the most extensively studied internalizing disorders
traced back to parentadolescent relationship quality, as well as
among the most common forms of psychopathology affecting
adolescents (Brumariu & Kerns, 2010). Numerous studies have
corroborated the importance of establishing secure relationships
with parents to promote overall self-efficacy (Arbona & Power,
2003; Thompson, 2000), well-being (Nickerson & Nagle, 2004),
and interpersonal functioning (Fuligni, Eccles, Barber, &
Clements, 2001). For example, adolescents who reported having
secure relationships with their parents had fewer symptoms of
anxiety and depression and better overall adjustment (Allen,
Porter, McFarland, McElhaney, & Marsh, 2007; Flouri &
Buchanan, 2003; Muris, Meesters, van Melick, & Zwambag,
2001). By the same token, lower quality relationships with parents
have been linked to later adolescent psychological distress and
mental health problems, even when controlling for peer relation-
ships and negative life events (Ein-Dor & Doron, 2015; Sroufe,
2005). Specifically, studies have found that poor relationship qual-
ity between adolescents and their parents was associated with
anxiety (e.g., Marganska, Gallagher, & Miranda, 2013) and
depression (e.g., Buss, 2000; Sheeber et al., 2001).
Regarding the direction of causality, longitudinal methods are
optimal in trying to determine the direction of effects between the
quality of parentadolescent relationships and symptoms of anx-
iety and depression (Cicchetti & Sroufe, 2000). Cross-sectional
Development and Psychopathology 3
studies analyzing these links are unable to determine whether
high internalizing distress among adolescents led to poor par-
entchild relationship quality or whether poor parentchild rela-
tionship quality led to poor adjustment outcomes among
adolescents (e.g., Adam, Gunnar, & Tanaka, 2004). It must be
acknowledged that even longitudinal designs cannot conclusively
provecausal links (e.g., due to the possibility of temporally ante-
cedent and later outcome variables being linked with third vari-
ables). At the same time, in the absence of experimental data
manipulating relationship quality and distress to demonstrate
causality (obviously impossible for ethical reasons), multiwave
prospective designs are optimal for testing potential causality.
Accordingly, in this study, we assessed the perceived quality of
parentadolescent relationships over seven annual assessments
spanning middle school and high school and examined their
links with symptoms of anxiety and depression among adoles-
cents at the end of their senior year in high school.
The Present Study
The aim of the present study is to gain a comprehensive under-
standing of patterns of developmental stability and change in ado-
lescentsperceptions of relationship quality with each parent,
using seven annual assessments based on the same conceptually
sound, well-validated measure of felt attachment with both moth-
ers and fathers. Existing research has been limited by a lack of
continuous, longitudinal measures to examine a single cohort
from middle school through high school. A majority of these
studies have relied on using broad measures of perceived relation-
ship quality that do not adequately assess the specific, underlying
changes in adolescentsperceptions of relationship quality with
their parents (e.g., McGue, Elkins, Walden, & Iacono, 2005).
Thus, much understanding of changes within the parentchild
relationship during adolescence is largely based on generalizations
from cross-sectional studies that have relied on broad measures of
parental support and closeness. To our knowledge, this is the first
multiwave longitudinal study to investigate how parentchild rela-
tionships change throughout the course of adolescence while tak-
ing into account the differential influences of mothers and fathers,
separately, within a sample of mostly affluent youth.
Based on past research, we expect that overall, parentchild
relationships will follow a normative trend of declining closeness
during early adolescence, at both the transition into middle school
and again into high school, but then begin to stabilize during late
adolescence. Specifically, we predict, first, that adolescents will
show increases in alienation and decreases in trust and communi-
cation from middle school to high school, followed by some lev-
eling off around middle adolescence. Second, we predict that
adolescents, regardless of gender, will report having higher quality
relationships with their mothers compared to fathers throughout
adolescence. Third, we predict that girls, compared to boys, will
report having higher quality relationships with both parents.
Based on previous findings suggesting that maternal parenting
is more strongly associated with childrens internalizing problems
(Aunola & Nurmi, 2005), we expect that adolescentsrelationships
with mothers may have stronger effects on internalizing problems.
Fourth, we expect that overall, perceived alienation will be more
detrimental to adolescent development compared to the beneficial
effects of trust and communication, in line with the notion that
bad is stronger than good; in general, negative events have
stronger, lasting impressions over positive ones (e.g.,
Baumeister, Bratslavsky, Finkenauer, & Vohs, 2001). Again, cross-
sectional findings have shown that outcomes in late adolescence
show stronger associations with perceived alienation from parents
than feelings of trust and communication (Luthar & Barkin,
2012).
Method
Sample
This study uses data from a sample of relatively affluent youth,
who were recruited from a community with a high concentration
of well-educated, high-income, white-collar professionals, who
comprise the New England Study of Suburban Youth (NESSY).
As described in previous reports (Luthar & Barkin, 2012), a
cohort of 335 6th graders (48% female) were recruited from
schools in an upper-middle-class New England community in
1998 and followed annually thereafter. Based on census data, stu-
dents in the NESSY cohort were from upper-middle-class families
with parents having median family incomes in the top 5% of the
country that were three times the national level of about $50,000
at the inception of the study (US Bureau of the Census, 2000).
These high-income, suburban students were predominantly
Caucasian (93%), with the remainder of the sample consisting
of less than 2% each of African American and Hispanic students,
3% Asian students, and the rest coming from other ethnic back-
grounds. Our sample was mostly composed of two-parent fami-
lies, with 79.3% of the sample being married, and only 4
parents divorcing during the course of the study (1 couple in
11th grade and 3 couples in 12th grade). In addition, our sample
had an average of 1.17 siblings (SD = 0.93) with 76.6% of our sam-
ple having at least 1 sibling. Our analyses here are based on 262
students who participated in the study and provided at least one
measurement of perceived relationship quality from Grades 6 to
12 and provided data on our outcomes of interest at Grade 12.
Missing data
The extent of missing data was acceptable, with only 3% of par-
ticipants having data at only one period and 88.2% of participants
providing data for at least four out of the seven time periods
assessed. Table 1 outlines the percentages of data included at
each time point for the IPPA scale for both mothers and fathers,
as well as our outcome variables (e.g., anxiety and depression).
Table 2 also includes the total number of observations broken
down by IPPA subscales at each time period for mothers and
fathers. Further, there was no evidence of differential attrition
from 6th to 12th grade: there were no significant differences
between 12th-grade participants and nonparticipants in terms
of 6th-grade anxiety (F= 0.33, p= .57) and depressive symptoms
(F= 1.49, p= .22).
Measures
Perceived relationship quality
We used the IPPA (Armsden & Greenberg, 1987) to assess ado-
lescentsperceptions of the positive and negative feelings toward
mothers and fathers separately. The IPPA was designed to mea-
sure specific dimensions of affective relationship quality across
three subscales: alienation (feelings of alienation and isolation),
trust (parental understanding, respect, and mutual trust), and
communication (extent and quality of verbal communication
with parents) within each relationship (Armsden & Greenberg,
1987), with 6, 10, and 9 items, respectively. Example items are
4 A. M. Ebbert, F. J. Infurna, and S. S. Luthar
as follows: Alienation: I dont get much attention from my
mother/father; Trust: My mother/father accepts me as I am;
Communication: My mother/father can tell when Im upset
about something.Participants answered a total of 50 items (25
pertaining to each parent) using a 5-point Likert scale response
format (1 = almost never or never true,2=not very often true,3
=sometimes true,4 = often true, and 5 = almost always or always
true). The IPPA is a widely used instrument that proved strong
psychometric properties across many samples (e.g., Gullone &
Robinson, 2005; Pace, San Martini, & Zavattini, 2011).
In our analyses, we used the mean scores from each subscale
in order to target the unique facets of change and influence
within each parentadolescent relationship. Overall, participants
provided an average of 5.73 (SD = 1.59, range 1 to 7) and 5.70
(SD = 1.61, range 1 to 7) waves of data for each measure of alien-
ation, trust, and communication for mothers and fathers respec-
tively. The internal consistencies (Cronbachsα)forthedifferent
dimensions of perceived parentadolescent relationship quality
ranged from 0.78 to 0.92 for mothers and 0.78 to 0.90 for
fathers.
Anxiety
Anxiety symptoms were measured using the total anxiety score
yielded by combining the three dimensions of anxiety (social anx-
iety, physiological anxiety, and worry) from the Revised Childrens
Manifest Anxiety Scale (Reynolds & Richmond, 1985). This self-
report measure consisted of 37 dichotomous-choice items, scored
0 or 1, with higher scores representing higher levels of anxiety
(see Luthar & Becker, 2002). Reliability (Cronbachsα) for the
total anxiety score at Grade 12 was 0.80.
Depressive symptoms
Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Childrens
Depression Inventory (Kovacs, 1992), a widely used 27-item,
three-choice scale designed for school-age children and adoles-
cents. Each item consists of three choices, with scores ranging
from 0 to 2, with higher scores being indicative of higher levels
of depression. This measure has good psychometric properties,
including criterion and concurrent validity (Kovacs, 1992).
Reliability (Cronbachsα) for the depressive symptoms score at
Grade 12 was 0.86.
Covariates
We included gender, ethnicity, marital status, and number of sib-
lings as key covariates in our study because of their known rela-
tionship to parentchild relationship quality. For example,
research has shown that children in single-parent families have
poorer relationship quality (Loeber, Drinkwater, Anderson,
Schmidt, & Crawford, 2000) and endorse higher levels of internal-
izing problems (Hilton, Desrochers, & Devall, 2001). We also
controlled for baseline measures of anxiety and depression at
the start of middle school (e.g., Grade 6), as well as at the onset
of high school (e.g., Grade 9) to strengthen our longitudinal pre-
dictions of adjustment outcomes at Grade 12.
Statistical analysis
To examine changes in relationship quality and interindividual
differences, we used a multiphase latent basis growth model
(see Infurna & Luthar, 2016; Ram & Grimm, 2007; Singer &
Willett, 2003). We used a multiphase model as opposed to a linear
or quadratic trend model so that we could directly examine poten-
tial differences in the rate of change in each indicator across the
early adolescent (middle school) versus later adolescent (high
school) years. That is, for mothers and fathers each, we modeled
separately the rate of change in alienation, trust, and communi-
cation for middle school (Grades 69) and high school (Grades
912).
The repeated measures of each dimension of relationship qual-
ity were modeled as a function of three latent growth factors: level,
middle school slope, and high school slope. The level or intercept
factor quantifies the expected level of relationship quality (e.g.,
alienation, trust, or communication in mother or father) at
Grade 6. Middle school slope scores indicate the extent of change
in the specific relationship quality during Grades 6 through
9. High school slope scores indicate the extent of change in the
specific relationship quality during Grades 9 through 12. The
parameter estimates for middle school slope and high school
slope indicate the total amount of change, on average, that tran-
spired during each of the time periods. The multiphase growth
curve model allowed for the added flexibility of detecting nonlin-
ear patterns of change and estimating variance parameters to
examine whether there were between-person differences in the
extent to which individuals differed in their changes in each
facet of perceived relationship quality.
In order to make use of all available data in the data set and
account for missing data, we reran all of our analyses with
Mplus (version 7.11; Muthén & Muthén, 2013), utilizing full
information maximum likelihood estimation, to make use of
all available data in the data set for unbiased parameter estima-
tion (Graham, Cumsille, & Elek-Fisk, 2003;McDonald&Ho,
2002).
Table 1. Percentages of data included at each time point for the IPPA measure and the outcome variables
Grade 6 Grade 7 Grade 8 Grade 9 Grade 10 Grade 11 Grade 12
IPPA
Mothers 73.28% 78.24% 82.44% 75.95% 88.93% 82.44% 91.98%
Fathers 72.52% 78.24% 82.06% 75.95% 88.55% 82.06% 90.46%
Outcomes
Anxiety 74.05% 79.39% 83.21% 77.10% 89.31% 82.44% 92.75%
Depression 74.81% 79.39% 83.21% 77.10% 89.31% 82.44% 92.75%
Note: N = 262. IPPA, Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment.
Development and Psychopathology 5
Table 2. Descriptive statistics for perceived parentadolescent relationship quality from Grade 6 to Grade 12, for males and females, separately, and for mothers and fathers, separately
Alienation Trust Communication
Female Male Female Male Female Male
No.
of
Obs. Mean SD
No.
of
Obs. Mean SD
No.
of
Obs. Mean SD
No.
of
Obs. Mean SD
No.
of
Obs. Mean SD
No.
of
Obs. Mean SD
Mothers
Grade
6 95 11.59 4.57 97 11.97 4.86 95 45.57 5.22 97 43.42 7.15 95 38.54 6.18 97 35.10 6.70
7 97 13.16 4.97 108 12.62 4.64 97 42.88 7.07 108 42.52 6.06 97 35.41 7.13 108 33.18 6.97
8 102 13.71 5.33 113 12.89 3.87 102 42.42 7.07 114 41.77 7.38 102 34.65 7.52 114 31.74 6.91
9 97 14.19 5.17 102 12.08 4.13 97 40.60 8.69 102 42.15 5.54 97 33.25 8.17 102 32.50 6.74
10 113 14.93 5.69 120 13.16 4.24 113 39.74 8.78 120 41.43 6.26 113 33.30 8.78 120 32.40 6.92
11 103 15.26 4.70 113 14.28 3.93 103 39.14 8.29 113 39.74 7.08 103 32.97 8.13 113 31.01 5.79
12 112 13.74 4.59 128 13.50 3.87 112 40.36 8.39 129 39.41 6.38 112 33.57 7.62 129 31.05 5.70
Fathers
Grade
6 93 12.36 4.95 97 12.16 4.74 93 43.93 6.27 97 42.26 7.24 93 33.73 7.65 97 32.63 7.37
7 97 13.73 4.76 108 13.00 5.06 97 42.01 6.76 108 40.94 7.59 97 31.16 7.89 108 31.23 7.43
8 101 14.58 4.82 113 13.35 4.52 101 41.31 6.65 114 40.23 8.13 101 30.36 7.36 114 29.61 7.40
9 98 14.81 4.82 101 12.75 5.13 98 39.74 8.03 101 40.53 7.46 98 29.09 7.83 101 30.26 7.82
10 113 15.99 4.95 119 13.76 4.59 113 38.62 7.88 119 40.41 7.31 113 28.80 8.18 119 30.25 7.74
11 103 15.85 4.70 112 14.46 4.39 103 38.29 7.52 112 39.64 7.14 103 28.82 8.52 112 29.51 6.84
12 110 14.95 4.13 127 13.50 4.38 110 39.52 7.50 127 38.92 6.91 110 29.91 7.49 127 29.65 6.50
Note: N = 262. No. of Obs., number of observations. On average, females provided 5.85 (SD = 1.52, range 1 to 7), 5.85 (SD = 1.52, range 1 to 7), and 5.85 ( SD = 1.52, range 1 to 7) observations for mother alienation, trust, and communication, respectively,
and 5.81 (SD = 1.57, range 1 to 7), 5.81 (SD = 1.57, range 1 to 7), and 5.81 (SD = 1.57, range 1 to 7) observations for father alienation, trust, and communication, respectively. On average, males provided 5.63 (SD = 1.64, range 1 to 7), 5.63 (SD = 1.64, range 1
to 7), and 5.63 (SD = 1.64, range 1 to 7) observations for mother alienation, trust, and communication, respectively, and 5.60 (SD = 1.65, range 1 to 7), 5.60 (SD = 1.65, range 1 to 7), and 5.60 (SD = 1.65, range 1 to 7) observations for father alienation, trust,
and communication, respectively.
6 A. M. Ebbert, F. J. Infurna, and S. S. Luthar
Results
Changes in perceived parentchild relationship quality in
adolescence
Descriptive data are shown in Table 2, that is, means and standard
deviations for each of our outcomes of interest from Grades 6 to
12. These are shown separately by mothers and fathers, as well as
differentiated by adolescent gender.
In addressing our central aims, in a first step, we examined
changes in alienation, trust, and communication separately for
mothers and fathers. Results from our multiphase growth models
examining changes in perceived parentadolescent relationship
quality from middle school to high school are shown in
Table 3, and Figure 1 graphically illustrates our findings. We
found that adolescents perceived significant increases in alien-
ation for both mothers and fathers (Figure 1a) in middle school
(mothers: 1.58, p< .05; fathers: 1.63, p< .05), and during high
school (mothers: 0.64, p< .05; fathers: 0.57, p< .05), with stronger
increases in perceived alienation in middle school. Focusing on
trust (Figure 1b), we observed that during middle school, there
were significant decreases in perceived trust with both mothers
and fathers (mothers: 3.47, p< .05; fathers: 2.93, p< .05) and
continued decreases in perceived trust with mothers, but not
fathers, during high school (mothers: 1.25, p< .05; fathers:
0.50, p> .05). With regard to communication (Figure 1c), we
found that adolescents perceived significant decreases in commu-
nication with both mothers and fathers during middle school
(mothers: 4.25, p< .05; fathers: 3.63, p< .05) and stable com-
munication with both mothers and fathers during high school
(mothers: 0.15, p> .05; fathers: 0.32, p> .05).
The variances in Table 3 indicate that there were significant
between-person differences in levels and the extent to which spe-
cific facets of relationship quality for mothers and fathers changed
from middle school to high school. Figure 2,Figure 3, and
Figure 4 illustrate the large amount of between-person differences
in levels of and rates of change in mothersand fathersalienation,
trust, and communication from middle school to high school.
This indicates that some individuals may have experienced stron-
ger increases or decreases compared to others. In the next set of
analyses, we examined whether gender moderated levels and
rates of change in each facet of perceived parentadolescent rela-
tionship quality from middle school to high school.
The role of gender in perceived parentchild relationship
quality in adolescence
Table 3 shows results from our models that included gender as a
predictor of level, middle school slope, and high school slope
across adolescent perceptions of alienation, trust, and communi-
cation with mothers and fathers. Child gender is coded 0 = boy
and 1 = girl; thus, the parameter estimates in Table 3 (second
set of rows, under Mothers and Fathers each) detail whether
there was an effect for girls. Focusing on alienation, we observed
that compared to boys, girls perceived stronger increases in alien-
ation from both mothers and fathers during middle school
(mothers: 1.86, p< .05, fathers: 1.34, p< .05). Based on the
parameters, the average increase in perceived alienation for girls
was 3.44 with mothers and 2.97 with fathers. For boys, the average
increase in perceived alienation was 1.58 with mothers and 1.63
with fathers. We did not find any gender differences in levels of
perceived alienation at Grade 6 or changes in perceived alienation
during high school for mothers and fathers.
Focusing on trust, we found that girls, compared to boys, per-
ceived higher levels of trust at Grade 6 with mothers, but not
fathers (mothers: 1.93, p< .05, fathers: 1.73, p> .06). We also
found that compared to boys, girls perceived stronger declines
in trust during middle school with mothers, but not fathers
(mothers: 3.18, p< .05, fathers: 2.51, p> .05). We did not
observe any gender differences in changes in perceived trust
with either parent during high school.
Regarding communication, we foundthat girls, compared to boys,
perceived higher levels of communication at Grade 6 with mothers
only (3.58, p< .05). Wedid not find any significant genderdifferences
in perceived communication with fathers at any time point.
Figure 1. Graphical illustration of model implied
change for relationship qualities of (a) alienation,
(b) trust, and (c) communication. We see that alien-
ation shows a general increase from middle school
to high school, whereas trust and communication
show declines from middle school to high school.
Development and Psychopathology 7
Developmental linkages of parentadolescent relationship
quality to mental health
In our next set of analyses, we examined whether particular
dimensions of adolescentsfelt attachment to parents from mid-
dle school to high school would predict long-term adjustment of
anxiety and depressive symptoms at Grade 12, and also whether
the effects were similar for mothers versus fathers. We outputted
each adolescents estimate for level (Grade 6), middle school
slope, and high school slope for each subscale of perceived par-
entadolescent relationship quality (alienation, trust, and com-
munication) and used these estimates in separate regression
analyses to predict each adjustment outcome (see Infurna,
Gerstorf, Ram, Schupp, & Wagner, 2011, for prior use of this
strategy), while controlling for gender, ethnicity, marital status,
number of siblings, and levels of anxiety of depressive symptoms
at Grades 6 and 9. To examine the greatest explanatory power
and unique effects of each facet of relationship quality across dif-
ferent periods of adolescence, we included all variables into the
regression equation and conducted separate analyses for moth-
ers and fathers.
Table 4 shows the results of our regression analyses for the pre-
dictive effects of level at Grade 6, middle school, and high school
changes in adolescent perceptions of alienation, trust, and com-
munication with mothers and fathers on anxiety and depressive
symptoms at Grade 12. Focusing on anxiety, we found that stron-
ger increases in perceived alienation during high school with
mothers (β= 0.10) and fathers (β= 0.22) were associated with
Figure 2. Graphical illustration of between-person differences in level and rates of change in (a) mothersand (b) fathersalienation from middle school to high school.
Figure 3. Graphical illustration of between-person differences in level and rates of change in (a) mothersand (b) fatherstrust from middle school to high school.
Figure 4. Graphical illustrationof between-person differences in leveland rates of changein (a) mothersand (b)fatherscommunicationfrom middle schoolto high school.
8 A. M. Ebbert, F. J. Infurna, and S. S. Luthar
Table 3. Examining changes in alienation, trust, and communication for mothers and fathers and the moderating role of gender
Alienation Trust Communication
Estimate SE Estimate SE Estimate SE
Mothers
Factor means
Level 12.01* 0.32 44.19* 0.43 36.51* 0.45
Middle school slope 1.58* 0.32 3.47* 0.49 4.25* 0.51
High school slope 0.64* 0.30 1.25* 0.46 0.15 0.40
Effect of gender
Level 0.33 0.63 1.93* 0.83 3.58* 0.87
Middle school slope 1.86* 0.66 3.18* 0.97 2.14 1.01
High school slope 0.75 0.60 1.45 0.91 0.65 0.79
Variances
Level 13.65* 2.18 23.85* 3.81 26.99* 4.18
Middle school slope 5.71* 2.25 21.56* 5.52 26.03* 6.00
High school slope 6.79* 1.88 22.96* 4.89 13.76* 3.56
Covariance between level and middle school slope 1.18 1.77 0.44 3.53 2.86 3.89
Covariance between level and high school slope 4.88* 1.56 10.03* 3.04 8.01* 2.73
Covariance between middle school and high school slope 0.98* 1.52 3.43 3.85 4.59 3.52
Residual 7.94* 0.41 15.85* 0.81 14.60* 0.74
Model fit statistics
BIC 8,263 9,449 9,323
RMSEA 0.10 0.08 0.10
CFI 0.91 0.96 0.93
Alienation Trust Communication
Estimate SE Estimate SE Estimate SE
Fathers
Factor means
Level 12.54* 0.34 42.42* 0.47 32.75* 0.53
Middle school slope 1.63* 0.35 2.93* 0.51 3.63* 0.54
High school slope 0.57* 0.22 0.50 0.41 0.32 0.38
Effect of gender
Level 0.24 0.63 1.73 0.91 0.84 0.82
Middle school slope 1.34* 0.67 2.51 1.00 1.31 1.07
High school slope 0.08 0.47 0.33 0.89 0.03 0.75
Variances
Level 14.49* 2.19 36.79* 4.51 41.61* 5.46
Middle school slope 5.63* 3.00 27.78* 5.54 25.52* 6.75
High school slope 2.49* 2.02 11.61* 4.06 10.58* 4.16
Covariance between level and middle school slope 1.99 1.84 7.33 3.96 10.98* 4.66
Covariance between level and high school slope 3.87* 1.23 9.82* 2.97 8.32* 2.91
Covariance between middle school and high school slope 0.66 1.52 2.15 3.49 0.82 3.69
Residual 8.43* 0.46 14.22* 0.73 16.32* 0.84
(Continued)
Development and Psychopathology 9
higher levels of anxiety at Grade 12. For trust, we found that lower
levels of perceived trust with mothers at Grade 6 (β=0.05) were
associated with higher levels of anxiety at Grade 12. We did not
find any effect of perceived communication with either parent
on levels of anxiety at Grade 12. Further, when looking at the
effect of perceived relationship quality with mothers on anxiety,
we found that reporting higher levels of anxiety at Grade 9, but
not Grade 6, was associated with reporting higher levels of anxiety
at Grade 12 (β= 0.41). When looking at the effect of perceived
relationship quality with fathers on anxiety, we found that report-
ing higher levels of anxiety at both Grade 6 (β= 0.17) and Grade 9
(β= 0.35) were associated with reporting higher levels of anxiety
at Grade 12. Gender and number of siblings were also significant
covariates, suggesting that girls, compared to boys, had higher lev-
els of anxiety at Grade 12 (β= 0.27), as did adolescents with more
siblings (β= 0.07).
Focusing on depression, we found that stronger increases in
perceived alienation during high school with mothers only (β=
0.95) were associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms
at Grade 12. For trust, we found that lower levels of perceived
trust at Grade 6 for both mothers (β=0.71) and fathers (β=
0.33) were associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms
at Grade 12. We also found that stronger decreases in perceived
trust during high school, with mothers only (β=0.60), were
associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms at Grade
12. For communication, we found that higher levels of perceived
communication with mothers at Grade 6 (β= 0.41) were associ-
ated with higher levels of depressive symptoms at Grade 12. We
also found that stronger increases in perceived communication
in high school with both mothers (β= 0.83) and fathers (β=
0.58) were associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms
at Grade 12. Further, when looking at the effect of perceived rela-
tionship quality with mothers on depressive symptoms, we found
that reporting higher levels of depressive symptoms at Grade 6 (β
= 0.16) and Grade 9 (β= 0.41) was associated with higher levels of
depressive symptoms at Grade 12. Similarly, regarding the analy-
ses for fathers, we found that reporting higher levels of depressive
symptoms at Grade 6 (β= 0.24) and Grade 9 (β= 0.31) was also
associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms at Grade
12. Finally, ethnicity was also a significant covariate, suggesting
that biracial status was associated with higher levels of depressive
symptoms at Grade 12 (β=1.17).
Discussion
The present study examined the course of changes in felt attach-
ment to mothers and fathers from the perspective of high achiev-
ing school students across seven annual assessments, spanning
age 12 through age 18, and how such changes in perceived rela-
tionship quality with either parent differed by gender. The studys
prospective design also highlighted which particular dimensions
of perceived relationship quality with mothers and fathers
might affect long-term adjustment of anxiety and depressive
symptoms at Grade 12. Moreover, the current study explored
these relations among a sample of high-achieving adolescents,
now known to be at risk for elevated distress compared to norma-
tive samples, and also known to be stretched for shared time with
parents (Luthar & Kumar, 2018). For these reasons, there is value
in illustrating the particular dimensions of parentadolescents
relationships that seem to carry particularly high protective
potentialfor this at-risk group (see Luthar & Eisenberg, 2017).
Previous studies that have examined the developmental course of
parentadolescent relationships have been limited by using either
cross-sectional or short-term longitudinal data obtained from
inconsistent sources and measures of perceived relationship quality.
Overcoming such limitations and advancing the literature, our pro-
spective, seven-wave study of high-achieving youth utilized a valid
and reliable measure (i.e., IPPA) capable of capturing individual dif-
ferences among unique features of perceived parentadolescent rela-
tionship quality for both mothers and fathers. The IPPA subscales
also provide information about the degree and affective quality of
adolescent involvement with parents, which has been found to be
distinct from overall attachment quality measures (Heiss, Berman,
&Sperling,1996). Further, the patterns of the IPPA subscale scores
highlight unique elements underlying perceived changes in parent
child relationships and the qualities that are most impactful on
internalizing adjustment outcomes in adolescence.
Changes in perceived parentchild relationship quality in
adolescence
Overall, we found that the perceived quality of parentchild
relationships changes significantly during adolescence, a period
marked by developmental demands. Specifically, we found that
the quality of parentchild relationships decreased the most
Table 3. (Continued.)
Alienation Trust Communication
Estimate SE Estimate SE Estimate SE
Model fit statistics
BIC 8,253 9,293 9,462
RMSEA 0.08 0.05 0.08
CFI 0.95 0.98 0.95
Note: BIC, Bayesian information criterion. RMSEA, root mean square error of approximation. CFI, comparative fit index. Mothers. alienation: parameter estimates for middle school slope
latent basis slope factor: 0, 0.60, 0.85, 1, 1, 1, 1 for the time interval Grades 6 to 12. Parameter estimates for high school slope latent basis slope factor: 0, 0, 0, 0, 0.49, 0.97, 1 for the time
interval Grades 6 to 12. Trust: parameter estimates for middle school slope latent basis slope factor: 0, 0.43, 0.67, 1, 1, 1, 1 for the time interval Grades 6 to 12. Parameter estimates for high
school slope latent basis slope factor: 0, 0, 0, 0, 0.29, 0.74, 1 for the time interval Grades 6 to 12. Communication: parameter estimates for middle school slope latent basis slope factor: 0,
0.55, 0.75, 1, 1, 1, 1 for the time interval Grades 6 to 12. Parameter estimates for high school slope latent basis slope factor: 0, 0, 0, 0, 0.45, 0.83, 1 for the time interval Grades 6 to 12. Fathers.
alienation: parameter estimates for middle school slope latent basis slope factor: 0, 0.42, 0.79, 1, 1, 1, 1 for the time interval Grades 6 to 12. Parameter estimates for high school slope latent
basis slope factor: 0, 0, 0, 0, 0.76, 1.36, 1 for the time interval Grades 6 to 12. Trust: parameter estimates for middle school slope latent basis slope factor: 0, 0.24, 0.47, 1, 1, 1, 1 for the time
interval Grades 6 to 12. Parameter estimates for high school slope latent basis slope factor: 0, 0, 0, 0, 0.36, 0.72, 1 for the time interval Grades 6 to 12. Communication: parameter estimates for
middle school slope latent basis slope factor: 0, 0.39, 0.63, 1, 1, 1, 1 for the time interval Grades 6 to 12. Parameter estimates for high school slope latent basis slope factor: 0, 0, 0, 0, 0.60,
1.13, 1 for the time interval Grades 6 to 12.
10 A. M. Ebbert, F. J. Infurna, and S. S. Luthar
during middle school, at the onset of the teen years (Luthar &
Ciciolla, 2016), and somewhat stabilized by the end of high
school. Taken together, our results demonstrated a general trend
of decreased closeness, consistent with existing research on par-
entchild relationship quality in adolescence (e.g., Buist et al.,
2002; Steinberg & Morris, 2001). Regarding the unique affective
Table 4. Examining the predictive effects of level, middle school, and high school changes in relationship quality on anxiety and depressive symptoms at Grade 12 for
mothers and fathers, separately
Outcomes
Anxiety Depressive symptoms
Estimate SE βEstimate SE β
Mothers
Intercept 0.80* 0.03 1.44 7.39* 0.31 1.22
Level alienation 0.03 0.02 0.15 0.08 0.22 0.04
Middle school slope alienation 0.02 0.03 0.05 0.04 0.31 0.01
High school slope alienation 0.10* 0.03 0.31 0.95* 0.33 0.27
Level trust 0.05* 0.02 0.34 0.71* 0.20 0.48
Middle school slope trust 0.01 0.01 0.04 0.01 0.16 0.01
High school slope trust 0.01 0.02 0.06 0.60* 0.25 0.34
Level communication 0.02 0.01 0.18 0.41* 0.16 0.31
Middle school slope communication 0.01 0.01 0.06 0.07 0.13 0.04
High school slope communication 0.02 0.02 0.10 0.83* 0.36 0.32
Covariates
Gender 0.25* 0.07 0.23 0.79 0.74 0.07
Ethnicity 0.04 0.05 0.05 1.14 0.50 0.13
Marital status 0.01 0.07 0.01 0.76 0.79 0.05
Number of siblings 0.06 0.03 0.09 0.05 0.35 0.01
Outcome at Grade 6
a
0.09 0.06 0.10 0.16* 0.07 0.18
Outcome at Grade 9
a
0.41* 0.07 0.45 0.41* 0.11 0.42
Adjusted R
2
0.52 0.05 0.40 0.05
Fathers
Intercept 0.80* 0.03 1.45 7.37* 0.32 1.22
Level alienation 0.04 0.02 0.25 0.21 0.33 0.11
Middle school slope alienation 0.04 0.03 0.10 0.32 0.42 0.08
High school slope alienation 0.22* 0.07 0.39 1.22 1.21 0.20
Level trust 0.02 0.01 0.20 0.33* 0.15 0.29
Middle school slope trust 0.01 0.01 0.05 0.25 0.15 0.17
High school slope trust 0.01 0.02 0.05 0.60 0.34 0.21
Level communication 0.01 0.01 0.07 0.17 0.11 0.16
Middle school slope communication 0.01 0.01 0.09 0.09 0.15 0.05
High school slope communication 0.04 0.02 0.13 0.58* 0.26 0.20
Covariates
Gender 0.27* 0.06 0.24 0.74 0.70 0.06
Ethnicity 0.04 0.05 0.05 1.17* 0.59 0.14
Marital status 0.02 0.07 0.02 0.74 0.82 0.05
Number of siblings 0.07* 0.04 0.12 0.01 0.48 0.00
Outcome at Grade 6
a
0.17* 0.06 0.20 0.24* 0.07 0.26
Outcome at Grade 9
a
0.35* 0.07 0.38 0.31* 0.09 0.31
Adjusted R
2
0.52 0.05 0.35 0.06
Note: N = 262.
a
Outcome, anxiety at Grade 6 and Grade 9 were included as covariates when the outcome was anxiety at Grade 12, and depressive symptoms at Grade 6 and Grade 9 were
include as covariates when the outcome was depressive symptoms at Grade 12. *p< .05.
Development and Psychopathology 11
components of perceived relationship quality, we observed that
perceived alienation with both mothers and fathers significantly
increased during middle school and high school. Perceived trust
and communication with both parents significantly decreased
during middle school, although only trust continued to decrease
with mothers during high school.
The developmental demands implicit in adolescence, such as
the task of individuation and autonomy seeking, may account
for the decreased closeness and lack of feeling understood that
persist throughout middle school and high school. What is unique
about the dimensions of alienation and trust that continue to
change in the direction of decreased closeness is that they both
share a common quality of whether or not adolescents feel under-
stood by their parents. For example, My mother/father under-
stands meand My mother/father doesnt understand what
Im going through these days,coming from the trust and alien-
ation subscales, respectively, similarly account for the degree to
which adolescents feel understood by their parents. Further, alien-
ation taps into adolescents feeling detached and angry, primarily
as a reaction to feeling that their needs are not being met and that
they are not receiving enough attention. Similarly, trust represents
how accessible and responsive adolescents perceive their parents
to be and whether they feel that their parents are meeting their
developmental needs (Armsden & Greenberg, 1987). As adoles-
cents become increasingly independent during this period of
development (Molloy, Ram, & Gest, 2011), parents may feel
that they are not needed or may feel that their parental authority
is being threatened. As a result, a mismatch between adolescents
desires for increasing autonomy and opportunities for indepen-
dence provided by parents (Eccles et al., 1993) may account for
persistent increases in perceived alienation and decreases in per-
ceived trust throughout middle school and high school.
In addition, we found that of the three affective components of
felt attachment to parents (e.g., alienation, trust, and communica-
tion), communication was the only dimension that significantly
decreased in middle school but did not continue to significantly
decline in high school. This finding may be accounted for by
the fact that adolescents spend increasing amounts of time with
peers as they enter middle school, and as a result, may disclose
less about their personal feelings and experiences to their parents
than they had in younger years (Laible et al., 2000). However, as
adolescents progress through high school and become closer to
graduating, this group of high-achieving adolescents may rely
on their parents for advice in preparation for college.
The role of gender in perceived parentchild relationship
quality in adolescence
Consistent with previous research, our findings support that the tra-
jectories of change for parentchild relationships are differentiated
by gender (Buist et al., 2002). We found that gender differences
in felt attachment to mothers and fathers were significant for alien-
ation in middle school. Specifically, we found that girls, compared
to boys, showed stronger increases in perceived alienation in middle
school for both mothers and fathers. We also found that girls, com-
pared to boys, showed stronger decreases in perceived trust in mid-
dle school, but only for mothers. Compared to boys, girls also
showed higher levels of trust and communication with mothers at
Grade 6. Although we did not find initial gender differences in per-
ceived alienation, girls reporting significantly higher levels of trust
and communication with mothers reflects a higher level of felt
attachment overall compared to boys. One possible explanation
for these findings may be that girls typically report having higher
levels of relationship quality with mothers (Buist et al., 2002), leav-
ing more room for the relationship to decline in closeness. We
found that the declining quality of parentchild relationships dif-
fered by gender significantly during middle school but did not
find any gender differences in high school.
In line with previous findings, we found that the onset of the
teen years during middle school marked the initiation of emerg-
ing gender differences in adolescentsperceptions of parental rela-
tionship quality (e.g., Luthar & Ciciolla, 2016). When appraising
mean level differences at each grade level, we also found that girls
continued to report higher levels of alienation and lower levels of
trust and communication from Grade 8 to Grade 9, with boys
showing the opposite trend. Overall, girls showed stronger
decreases in felt attachment to parents compared to boys. In gene-
ral, we know that girls are initially closer to both parents than
boys. As a result, the developmental task of individuation and sep-
aration is that much more challenging for girls. Thus, our findings
may be indicative of girls losing more trust and feeling more
alienated in order to increase independence and gain autonomy
in adolescence. Collectively, these findings emphasize the need
to consider gender of both the child and the parent in future stud-
ies on changes in relationship quality across adolescence.
Developmental linkages of parentadolescent relationship
quality to mental health
Consistent with the current literature, we found that parentchild
relationships continue to be relevant and developmentally associ-
ated with adjustment outcomes beyond infancy and into adoles-
cence (Ruhl et al., 2015). Specifically, our results indicate that
perceived relationship quality with parents in adolescence had sig-
nificant links with psychological distress outcomes, including
anxiety and depressive symptoms. Concerning the specific facets
of relationship quality, perceived increases in alienation with
both mothers and fathers in high school significantly predicted
higher levels of anxiety at Grade 12. Lower levels of perceived
trust with mothers at Grade 6 was also predictive of higher levels
of anxiety at Grade 12. Regarding depression, findings were
mostly significant for mothers. For mothers, our findings showed
that low levels of perceived trust at Grade 6 and decreases in per-
ceived trust and increases in alienation in high school were asso-
ciated with more depressive symptoms at Grade 12. For fathers,
we found that low levels of trust at Grade 6 were also linked to
more depressive symptoms at Grade 12.
A surprising finding was that increases in communication in
high school with both mothers and fathers were associated with
higher levels of depressive symptoms measured at Grade 12.
Even after controlling for baseline measures of anxiety and
depressive symptoms (e.g., Grades 6 and 9), higher levels of com-
munication with mothers and fathers were still significantly asso-
ciated with more depressive symptoms at Grade 12. There are
several potential explanations for this association. Although our
study utilized a prospective study design, there may still be bidir-
ectional influences and a reciprocal cycle in the association
between parentchild relationship quality and mental health out-
comes among adolescents (Rueter & Conger, 1998). Moreover, it
is possible that the declining quality of parentchild relationships
throughout middle school and high school may have accounted
for the maintenance of depressive symptoms as well as the need
for adolescents to communicate more and share their problematic
experiences with their parents throughout middle school and high
12 A. M. Ebbert, F. J. Infurna, and S. S. Luthar
school. In looking more closely at the specific items from the
IPPA scale, the nature of the communication questions lends itself
to the reasonable assumption that adolescents suffering from
depressive symptoms may have reported increases in communica-
tion toward the end of high school based on their need for emo-
tional support. For example, one item reads, I can count on my
mother/father when I need to get something off my chest; a child
scoring high on this item is likely to be experiencing symptoms of
depression. Further, the communication questions include items
that are both indicative of existing adolescent problems, such as
I tell my mother/father about my problems and troubles,and
items that indicate positive aspects of communication, such as
I feel my mother does a good job as my mother,which may be
measuring distinct qualities of communicating. In future research,
it may be useful to separate communication items between those
based on distress and those based on positive communication.
Most likely, the positive items would be related to lower depres-
sion. This possibility warrants further empirical inquiry.
In summary, from early to late adolescence, we observed pat-
terns of change within the parentchild relationship that were asso-
ciated with adolescent adjustment outcomes. Despite finding that
the magnitude of changes in parentchild relationships were
more pronounced in middle school, relationship quality with par-
ents in high school generally had more predictive value of adoles-
cent internalizing adjustment outcomes. These patterns may
suggest a recency effectas it were, that is, if there is significant
deterioration in relationship quality in the years just preceding
high school (as opposed to disturbances occurring many years in
the past), negative effects are likely to be seen in anxiety and depres-
sion at the end of Grade 12. In terms of ramifications for long-term
adjustment, findings clearly point to the importance of initial levels
of trust and changes in alienation during high school for both
mothers and fathers. However, more significant findings for per-
ceived relationship quality with mothers support prior suggestions
(Luthar et al., 2013) that the quality of relationships with mothers
(usually primary caregivers) can have especially strong ramifications
for the long-term adjustment of adolescents.
Limitations and future directions
Although this study offers a unique contribution to the existing
literature on parentadolescent relationships, several limitations
should be considered. The use of self-report data based only on
the perceptions of adolescents (a) leaves open the question of
how parents perceived their adolescentsfelt attachment to
them, and (b) might raise concerns about shared method vari-
ance. With regard to the former, in this study, our central interest
was not as much in othersopinions of parentseffectiveness, but
rather, in adolescentssubjective perceptions of their relationships
with parents, and how these perceptions might play out in differ-
ent aspects of their adjustment. Furthermore, adolescents have
been found to provide a more accurate depiction of their relation-
ship with their parents and have been similar to reports from
independent observers, especially regarding unfavorable aspects
of the relationship (Collins & Laursen, 2004a). With regard
to the issue of shared variance, the simultaneous consideration
of multiple relationship dimensions with each parent, for a total
of six in all, would have, in essence, partialed out variance
due to any global positive or negative bias in studentsreports,
indicating associations unique to each. Nevertheless, future stud-
ies may consider including additional perspectives, such as obser-
vations of parentadolescent interactions (De Goede et al., 2008).
In addition, the inclusion of additional variables that may be
affecting parent or family stress variables may strengthen future
studies on the quality of parentadolescent relationships.
Conflict, for example, is a very normative part of parentadoles-
cent relationships and may be a significant variable influencing
relationship quality trajectories (Collins et al., 1997). Future stud-
ies will benefit from examining the role that normative increases
in conflict play in typically developing adolescentparent relation-
ships. Another variable that could be included in future studies is
birth order. Even though we accounted for number of siblings in
the model, birth order could affect parent and family stress levels,
depending on whether or not the participants parent is parenting
an adolescent for the first time.
This study explored an ethnically homogenous sample of afflu-
ent families from a suburban area, which may make it difficult to
generalize findings to non-White families or those of lower socio-
economic status. Future studies such as this one could help illumi-
nate general trends across diverse populations, contributing to the
refinement of theories on parentchild relationships across the
years spanning pre- through late adolescence. In addition, the pri-
mary outcomes of mental health that we focused on were anxiety
and depressive symptoms. It will be important to explore further,
in future research, whether developmental changes in perceived
parentadolescent relationship quality would be predictive of
other pertinent outcomes, including academic achievement and
substance (mis)use.
Finally, we stress the importance of not overinterpreting our
findings on the link between the quality of parentadolescent rela-
tionships and adjustment outcomes. Although we demonstrate
that certain qualities of parentchild relationships are significantly
associated with increases in anxiety and depression, additional
factors, such as peers, teachers, and communities, may further
account for the influence on adolescent adjustment outcomes.
In terms of implications for practice and policy, results of this
study resonate with prior recommendations for increased atten-
tion to parentadolescent relationships starting in early middle
school, in the context of high achieving communities (Luthar &
Ciciolla, 2016; Luthar & Kumar, 2018). Associations between
low levels of perceived parentadolescent relationship quality
and poor developmental outcomes have been repeatedly estab-
lished among various samples of middle- to low-income families
(e.g., Elder & Caspi, 1988; Yeung, Linver, & Brooks-Gunn, 2002).
Although limited, existing research comparing these families with
suburban families suggests that, on average, childrens reports of
closeness to parents may not differ much from those in other
groups. Yet this leaves open the possibility of some cases where
parentchild relationships are troubled, and it would be these
youth who are especially at high risk for maladjustment.
In conclusion, findings from this multiwave study provide
important insights into both patterns of change in the quality of
parentchild relationships across adolescence, and on the ramifica-
tions, for adjustment by late adolescence, of different aspects of felt
attachment to parents. The present findings from a sample from
high-achieving youth demonstrated that decreases in perceived
relationship quality followed a unique pattern of change associated
with adjustment outcomes in adolescence. Results from this work
have strengthened the notion that parents continue to be influential
in providing support during adolescence; highlighted the impor-
tance of parents making adjustments to adolescentschanging
developmental needs; and has provided directions for how future
research might focus on disentangling causal pathways underlying
the dynamic interplay of these relationships.
Development and Psychopathology 13
Financial support
Suniya S. Luthar gratefully acknowledges support provided by the
National Institutes of Health (Grant R01DA014385), the Rodel
Foundation, and Authentic Connections. The content is solely
the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily repre-
sent the official views of the funding agencies.
References
Adam, E. K., Gunnar, M. R., & Tanaka, A. (2004). Adult attachment, parent
emotion, and observed parenting behavior: Mediator and moderator mod-
els. Child Development,75, 110122.
Ainsworth, M. D. S. (1989). Attachments beyond infancy. American
Psychologist,44, 709716.
Ainsworth, M. D. S., Blehar, M. C., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978). Patterns of
attachment. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
Allen, J. P. (2008). The attachment system in adolescence. In J. Cassidy & P.
R. Shaver (Eds.), Handbook of attachment: Theory, research, and clinical
applications (2nd ed., pp. 419435). New York: Guilford Press.
Allen, J. P., & Land, D. L. (1999). Attachment in adolescence. In J. Cassidy & P.
R. Shaver (Eds.), Handbook of attachment: Theory, research, and clinical
applications (pp. 319335). New York: Guilford Press.
Allen, J. P., McElhaney, K. B., Kuperminc, G. P., & Jodl, K. M. (2004). Stability
and change in attachment security across adolescence. Child Development,
75, 17921805.
Allen, J. P., Porter,M., McFarland, C., McElhaney, K. B., & Marsh, P. (2007). The
relation of attachment security to adolescentspaternal and peer relationships,
depression, and externalizing behavior. Child Development,78,12221239.
Arbona, C., & Power, T. G. (2003). Parental attachment, self-esteem, and anti-
social behaviors among African American, European American, and
Mexican American adolescents. Journal of Counseling Psychology,50,4051.
Armsden, G. C., & Greenberg, M. T. (1987). The inventory of parent and peer
attachment: Individual differences and their relationship to psychological
well-being in adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence,16, 427454.
Aunola, K., & Nurmi, J. E. (2005). The role of parenting styles in childrens
problem behavior. Child Development,76, 11441159.
Baumeister, R. F., Bratslavsky, E., Finkenauer, C., & Vohs, K. D. (2001). Bad is
stronger than good. Review of General Psychology,5, 323370.
Baumrind, D. (1991). Effective parenting during the early adolescent transi-
tion. Family Transitions,2,1.
Berry, K., Barrowclough, C., & Wearden, A. (2007). A review of the role of
adult attachment style in psychosis: Unexplored issues and questions for
further research. Clinical Psychology Review,27, 458475.
Biblarz, T. J., & Stacey, J. (2010). How does the gender of parents matter?
Journal of Marriage and Family,72,322.
Blakemore, S. J., Burnett, S., & Dahl, R. E. (2010). The role of puberty in the
developing adolescent brain. Human Brain Mapping,31, 926933.
Bowlby, J. (1982). Attachment and loss: Retrospect and prospect. American
Journal of Orthopsychiatry,52, 664678.
Brumariu, L. E., & Kerns, K. A. (2010). Parentchild attachment and internal-
izing symptoms in childhood and adolescence: A review of empirical find-
ings and future directions. Development and Psychopathology,22, 177203.
Buist, K. L., Deković, M., Meeus, W., & van Aken, M. A. (2002).
Developmental patterns in adolescent attachment to mother, father and sib-
ling. Journal of Youth and Adolescence,31, 167176.
Buss, D. M. (2000). The evolution of happiness. American Psychologist,55,1523.
Cabrera, N. J., Fitzgerald, H. E., Bradley, R. H., & Roggman, L. (2014). The
ecology of father child relationships: An expanded model. Journal of
Family Theory & Review,6, 336354.
Cicchetti, D. (2012). Annual research review: Resilient functioning in mal-
treated childrenPast, present, and future perspectives. Journal of Child
Psychology and Psychiatry,54, 402422.
Cicchetti, D., & Rogosch, F. A. (2002). A developmental psychopathology per-
spective on adolescence. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology,70,
620.
Cicchetti, D., & Sroufe, L. A. (2000). The past as prologue to the future:
The times, theyve been a-changin.Development and Psychopathology,12,
255264.
Ciciolla, L., Curlee, A. S., Karageorge, J., & Luthar, S. S. (2017). When mothers
and fathers are seen as disproportionately valuing achievements:
Implications for adjustment among upper middle class youth. Journal of
Youth and Adolescence,46, 10571075.
Coley, R. L., Sims, J., Dearing, E., & Spielvogel, B. (2017). Locating
economic risks for adolescent well-being: Poverty and affluence in fam-
ilies, schools, and neighborhoods. Child Development, doi: 10.1111/
cdev.12771.
Collins, W. A., & Laursen, B. (2004a). Changing relationships, changing youth
interpersonal contexts of adolescent development. Journal of Early
Adolescence,24,5562.
Collins, W. A., & Laursen, B. (2004b). Parent-adolescent relationships and
influences. In R. Lerner & L. Steinberg (Eds.), Handbook of adolescent psy-
chology (pp. 331361). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Collins, W. A., Laursen, B., Mortensen, N., Luebker, C., & Ferreira, M. (1997).
Conflict processes and transitions in parent and peer relationships:
Implications for autonomy and regulation. Journal of Adolescent Research,
12, 178198.
Collins, W. A., & Repinski, D. J. (1994). Relationships during adolescence:
Continuity and change in interpersonal perspective. In R. Montemayor,
G. Adams, & T. Gullotta (Eds.), Personal relationships during adolescence.
Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
Collins, W. A., & Russell, G. (1991). Mother-child and father-child relation-
ships in middle childhood and adolescence: A developmental analysis.
Developmental Review,11,99136.
Cyranowski, J. M., Frank, E., Young, E., & Shear, M. K. (2000). Adolescent
onset of the gender difference in lifetime rates of major depression: A the-
oretical model. Archives of General Psychiatry,57,2127.
De Goede, I. H., Branje, S. J., & Meeus, W. H. (2008). Developmental changes
in adolescentsperceptions of relationships with their parents. Journal of
Youth and Adolescence,38,7588.
Eccles, J. S., Midgley, C., Wigfield, A., Buchanan, C. M., Reuman, D.,
Flanagan, C., & MacIver, D. (1993). Development during adolescence:
The impact of stage-environment fit on young adolescentsexperiences in
schools and in families. American Psychologist,48, 90.
Ein-Dor, T., & Doron, G. (2015). Attachment and psychopathology. In
J. A. Simpson & S. Rholes (Eds.), Attachment theory and research: New
directions and emerging themes (pp. 346373). Washington, DC:
American Psychological Association.
Elder, G. H., & Caspi, A. (1988). Economic stress in lives: Developmental per-
spectives. Journal of Social Issues,44,2545.
Feinberg, M. E., McHale, S. M., Crouter, A. C., & Cumsille, P. (2003). Sibling
differentiation: Sibling and parent relationship trajectories in adolescence.
Child Development,74, 12611274.
Flouri, E., & Buchanan, A. (2003). The role of father involvement in childrens
later mental health. Journal of Adolescence,26,6378.
Fuligni, A. J., Eccles, J. S., Barber, B. L., & Clements, P. (2001). Early adolescent
peer orientation and adjustment during high school. Developmental
Psychology,37,2836.
Gamble, S. A., & Roberts, J. E. (2005). Adolescentsperceptions of primary
caregivers and cognitive style: The roles of attachment security and gender.
Cognitive Therapy and Research,29, 123141.
Geisz, M. B., & Nakashian, M. (2018). Adolescent wellness: Current perspectives
and future opportunities in research, policy, and practice: A learning report.
Retrieved from https://www.rwjf.org/content/dam/farm/reports/issue_briefs/
2018/rwjf445935/subassets/rwjf445935_1.
Graham, J. W., Cumsille, P. E., & Elek-Fisk, E. (2003). Methods for handling
missing data. In J. A. Schinka & W. F. Velicer (Eds.), Comprehensive hand-
book of psychology: Vol. 2. Research methods in psychology. New York:
Wiley.
Gullone, E., & Robinson, K. (2005). The inventory of parent and peer attach-
mentRevised (IPPAR) for children: A psychometric investigation.
Clinical Psychology & Psychotherapy,12,6779.
Hay, I., & Ashman, A. F. (2003). The development of adolescentsemotional
stability and general self-concept: The interplay of parents, peers, and
14 A. M. Ebbert, F. J. Infurna, and S. S. Luthar
gender. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education,50,
7791.
Heiss, G. E., Berman, W. H., & Sperling, M. B. (1996). Five scales in search of a
construct: Exploring continued attachment to parents in college students.
Journal of Personality Assessment,67, 102115.
Helsen, M., Vollebergh, W., & Meeus, W. (2000). Social support from parents
and friends and emotional problems in adolescence. Journal of Youth and
Adolescence,29, 319335.
Hilton, J. M., Desrochers, S., & Devall, E. L. (2001). Comparison of role
demands, relationships, and child functioning in single-mother, single-
father, and intact families. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage,35,2956.
Infurna, F. J., Gerstorf, D., Ram, N., Schupp, J., & Wagner, G. G. (2011).
Long-term antecedents and outcomes of perceived control. Psychology
and Aging,26, 559575.
Infurna, F. J., & Luthar, S. S. (2016). Resilience to major life stressors is not as
common as thought. Perspectives on Psychological Science,11, 175194.
Kenny, M. E. (1994). Quality and correlates of parental attachment among late
adolescents. Journal of Counseling & Development,72, 399403.
Kobak, R., Rosenthal, N. L., Zajac, K., & Madsen, S. D. (2007). Adolescent
attachment hierarchies and the search for an adult pairbond. New
Directions for Child and Adolescent Development,117,5772.
Koplewicz, H. S., Gurian, A., & Williams, K. (2009). The era of affluence and
its discontents. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent
Psychiatry,48, 10531055.
Kovacs, M. (1992). Childrens Depression Inventory. North Tonawanda, NY:
Multi-Health Systems.
Laible, D. J., & Carlo, G. (2004). The differential relations of maternal and
paternal support and control to adolescent social competence, self-worth,
and sympathy. Journal of Adolescent Research,19, 759782.
Laible, D. J., Carlo, G., & Raffaelli, M. (2000). The differential relations of par-
ent and peer attachment to adolescent adjustment. Journal of Youth and
Adolescence,29,45
59.
Laursen, B. (2005). Conflict between mothers and adolescents in single-
mother, blended, and two-biological-parent families. Parenting: Science
and Practice,5, 347370.
Laursen, B., & Collins, W. A. (2004). Parent-child communication during ado-
lescence. In A. L. Vangelisti (Ed.), Handbook of family communication ( pp.
333348). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Lewis, C., & Lamb, M. E. (2003). Fathersinfluences on childrens develop-
ment: The evidence from two-parent families. European Journal of
Psychology of Education,18, 211228.
Loeber, R., Drinkwater, M., Yin, Y., Anderson, S. J., Schmidt, L. C., &
Crawford, A. (2000). Stability of family interaction from ages 6 to 18.
Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology,28, 353369.
Lund, T. J., Dearing, E., & Zachrisson, H. D. (2017). Is affluence a risk
for adolescents in Norway?. Journal of Research on Adolescence,27(3),
628643.
Luthar, S. S., & Barkin, S. H. (2012). Are affluent youth truly at risk?
Vulnerability and resilience across three diverse samples. Development
and Psychopathology,24, 429449.
Luthar, S. S., Barkin, S. H., & Crossman, E. J. (2013). I can, therefore I must:
Fragility in the upper-middle classes. Development and Psychopathology,25,
15291549.
Luthar, S. S., & Becker, B. E. (2002). Privileged but pressured? A study of afflu-
ent youth. Child Development,73, 15931610.
Luthar, S. S., & Ciciolla, L. (2016). What it feels like to be a mother: Variations
by childrens developmental stages. Developmental Psychology,52, 143154.
Luthar, S. S., & Eisenberg, N. (2017). Resilient adaptation among atrisk chil-
dren: Harnessing science toward maximizing salutary environments. Child
Development,88, 337349.
Luthar, S. S., & Kumar, N. L. (2018). Youth in high-achieving schools:
Challenges to mental health and directions for evidence-based interventions.
In A. W. Leschied, D. H. Saklofske, & G. L. Flett (Eds.), Handbook of school-
based mental health promotion (pp. 441458). New York: Springer.
Luthar, S. S., Small, P. J., & Ciciolla, L. (2018). Adolescents from upper middle
class communities: Substance misuse and addiction across early adulthood.
Development and Psychopathology,30, 315335.
Marganska, A., Gallagher, M., & Miranda, R. (2013). Adult attachment, emo-
tion dysregulation, and symptoms of depression and generalized anxiety
disorder. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry,83, 131141.
Masten, A. S. (2001). Ordinary magic: Resilience processes in development.
American Psychologist,56, 227.
McDonald, R. P., & Ho, M. H. R. (2002). Principles and practice in reporting
structural equation analyses. Psychological Methods,7, 64.
McGue, M., Elkins, I., Walden, B., & Iacono, W. G. (2005). Perceptions of the
parent-adolescent relationship: A longitudinal investigation. Developmental
Psychology,41, 971.
Meeus, W., Iedema, J.,Maassen, G., & Engels,R. (2005). Separationindividuation
revisited: On the interplay of parentadolescent relations, identity and emo-
tional adjustment in adolescence. Journal of Adolescence,28,89106.
Molloy, L. E., Ram, N., & Gest, S. D. (2011). The storm and stress (or calm) of
early adolescent self-concepts: Within-and between-subjects variability.
Developmental Psychology,47, 15891607.
Muris, P., Meesters, C., van Melick, M., & Zwambag, L. (2001). Self-reported
attachment style, attachment quality, and symptoms of anxiety and depression
in young adolescents. Personality and Individual Differences,30,809818.
Muthén, L. K., & Muthén, B. O. (2013). Mplus: Statistical analysis with latent
variables.Users guide (Version 7.11). Los Angeles: Author.
Nickerson, A. B., & Nagle, R. J. (2004). The influence of parent and peer
attachments on life satisfaction in middle childhood and early adolescence.
Social Indicators Research,66,3560.
Nickerson, A. B., & Nagle, R. J. (2005). Parent and peer attachment in late
childhood and early adolescence. Journal of Early Adolescence,25, 223249.
Pace, C. S., San Martini, P., & Zavattini, G. C. (2011). The factor structure of
the Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment (IPPA): A survey of Italian
adolescents. Personality and Individual Differences,51,8388.
Parrigon, K. S., Kerns, K. A., Abtahi, M. M., & Koehn, A. (2015). Attachment and
emotion in middle childhood and adolescence. Psychological Topics,24,2750.
Ram, N., & Grimm, K. (2007). Using simple and complex growth models to
articulate developmental change: Matching theory to method.
International Journal of Behavioral Development,31, 303316.
Raudino, A., Fergusson, D. M., & Horwood, L. J. (2013). The quality of parent/
child relationships in adolescence is associated with poor adult psychosocial
adjustment. Journal of Adolescence,36, 331340.
Reynolds, C. R., & Richmond, B. O. (1985). Revised Childrens Manifest
Anxiety Scale: Manual. Los Angeles: Western Psychological Services.
Ross, L. R., & Spinner, B. (2001). General and specific attachment representa-
tions in adulthood: Is there a relationship? Journal of Social and Personal
Relationships,18, 747766.
Rudolph, K. D. (2002). Gender differences in emotional responses to interper-
sonal stress during adolescence. Journal of Adolescent Health,30,313.
Rueter, M. A., & Conger, R. D. (1998). Reciprocal influences between parent-
ing and adolescent problem-solving behavior. Developmental Psychology,
34, 1470.
Ruhl, H., Dolan, E. A., & Buhrmester, D. (2015). Adolescent attachment tra-
jectories with mothers and fathers: The importance of parentchild rela-
tionship experiences and gender. Journal of Research on Adolescence,25,
427442.
Shanahan, L., McHale, S. M., Osgood, D. W., & Crouter, A. C. (2007). Conflict
frequency with mothers and fathers from middle childhood to late adoles-
cence: Within- and between-families comparisons. Developmental
Psychology,43, 539550.
Sheeber, L., Hops, H., & Davis, B. (2001). Family processes in adolescent
depression. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review,4(1), 1935.
Simons, L. G., & Conger, R. D. (2007). Linking motherfather differences in
parenting to a typology of family parenting styles and adolescent outcomes.
Journal of Family Issues,28, 212241.
Singer, J. D., & Willett, J. B. (2003). Applied longitudinal data analysis.
New York: Oxford University Press.
Sisk, C., & Foster, D. (2004). The neural basis of puberty and adolescence.
Nature Neuroscience,7, 10401047.
Sroufe, L. A. (2005). Attachment and development: A prospective, longitudinal
study from birth to adulthood. Attachment & Human Development,7,
349367.
Development and Psychopathology 15
Steinberg, L. (2001). We know some things: Parent-adolescent relationships in
retrospect and prospect. Journal of Research on Adolescence,11,119.
Steinberg, L., & Morris, A. S. (2001). Adolescent development. Journal of
Cognitive Education and Psychology,2,5587.
Steinberg, L., & Silk, J. S. (2002). Parenting adolescents. In M. H. Bornstein
(Ed.), Handbook of parenting: Vol. 1. Children and parenting ( pp. 103
133). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Thompson, R. A. (2000). The legacy of early attachments. Child Development,
71, 145152.
United States Bureau of the Census. American factfinder. (2000). Retrieved
from http://factfinder2.census.gov.
Yeung, W. J., Linver, M. R., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2002). How money matters for
young childrens development: Parental investment and family processes.
Child Development,73, 18611879.
16 A. M. Ebbert, F. J. Infurna, and S. S. Luthar
... Prior theoretical and empirical work has emphasized that the number of biological, cognitive, and social changes that take place during adolescence make examination of not only ER development noteworthy (Steinberg, 2005), but also developmental changes within parenting factors (Ebbert et al., 2018). That is, numerous novel contexts and experiences during adolescence in addition to decreased opportunities for coregulation with parents, require more advanced ER abilities that may be aided by increased neurobiological maturation, especially in prefrontal regions thought to underlie regulatory abilities (McRae et al., 2012;Steinberg, 2005). ...
... For example, one study reported a decline in rejection and inconsistent discipline across 3 years of early adolescence (Lengua, 2006), and another study reported stability in parental control, including proactive control, punitive control, and psychological control across four time points from early to late adolescence (Van Heel et al., 2019). Indeed, evidence has indicated that parent-child relationship quality decreased significantly at the onset of the teenage years but stabilized by late adolescence (Ebbert et al., 2018). However, another study reported that conflict in the parent-child relationship increased from early to middle adolescence and then decreased from middle to late adolescence (De Goede et al., 2009). ...
... While changes in both groups were significant, the increasing group appeared to have steeper changes than the decreasing group. In general, these findings corroborate current theoretical and empirical work describing notable changes to parent-adolescent relationships during this developmental period (Branje, 2018;De Goede et al., 2009;Ebbert et al., 2018;Eisenberg et al., 2008;Putnick et al., 2008;Seiffge-Krenke et al., 2010;Steinberg & Silk, 2002). In particular, the current findings based on adolescents' perceptions of negative parenting complement prior findings of distinct trajectories based on adolescents' positive and negative feelings toward their parents. ...
Article
Full-text available
Research has documented changes in parenting practices and in emotion regulation (ER) during adolescence. However, developmental trajectories of these constructs and how they may be linked are not clearly known. The present study examined longitudinal associations between developmental trajectories of negative parenting and developmental trajectories of ER (e.g., abilities and strategy use, including cognitive reappraisal and suppression). The sample included 167 adolescents (53% males) who were first recruited at age 13 or 14 years and assessed annually four times. Adolescents self-reported on the perceived degree of their parent's negative parenting and ER. Growth mixture modeling revealed two distinct trajectories of negative parenting across adolescence: Class 1 contained the majority of adolescents (84%), with moderate initial levels of negative parenting that decreased across adolescence; Class 2 contained a smaller group of adolescents (16%), reporting moderate initial levels of negative parenting that increased across adolescence. Though growth curve modeling did not reveal significant growth in ER across time in the sample as a whole, results from a two-group model demonstrated that ER development significantly differs depending on adolescents' experiences of negative parenting trajectories. Adolescents experiencing decreases in negative parenting showed significant increases in ER abilities and no significant changes in suppression. Adolescents experiencing increases in negative parenting exhibited significant decreases in ER abilities. Adolescent's cognitive reappraisal was unaffected by negative parenting. The findings underscore the significant role of differential parenting environments in the development of ER abilities during adolescence. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
... When examined longitudinally, decreases in positive relationship quality (i.e., support, warmth) and increases in negative quality (i.e., conflict, control) are observed from early to mid-adolescence between individuals and their parents and siblings (Ebbert et al., 2018;Whiteman et al., 2015). Subsequently, relationship quality with parents either stabilizes or improves from mid to late adolescence (De Goede et al., 2009), although similar patterns have not been observed with siblings. ...
... Subsequently, relationship quality with parents either stabilizes or improves from mid to late adolescence (De Goede et al., 2009), although similar patterns have not been observed with siblings. Higher negative relationship quality and lower positive relationship quality with parents and siblings is associated with poorer psychosocial outcomes for adolescents (Ebbert et al., 2018;Whiteman et al., 2015). This literature generally assesses change in relationship quality with parents and siblings with questionnaires completed across multiple time-points. ...
... Thus, there may be benefits in perceiving relationship improvement, but not worsening relationship quality during a time in which youth spend more time with their families (Bülow et al., 2020;Rogers et al., 2021). These findings may also reflect a large body of work suggesting that relationships high in positive characteristics and low in negative characteristics are associated with better psychosocial functioning in general (Dirks et al., 2015;Ebbert et al., 2018). They also extend previous work highlighting the buffering role of positive relationships with parents during the pandemic to include the importance of positive relationships with siblings (Campione- . ...
Article
Introduction Adolescents typically spend decreasing amounts of time with family members, but the COVID-19 pandemic changed this pattern for many youth. The objective of the current study was to better understand adolescents’ perceived change in family relationship quality, and how these perceptions were related to psychosocial functioning during the COVID-19 pandemic, accounting for more traditional measures of family relationship quality. Understanding how adolescents perceived change in relationship quality with family members during the pandemic offers novel insight into adolescents’ relationships with their families and psychosocial functioning during this period. Method A sample of Canadian adolescents (N = 605, ages 14 to 18, 53% girls), was employed to examine patterns of adolescents’ perceived change in relationship quality with parents and siblings since the start of the pandemic, accounting for relationship quality, pandemic-related characteristics, and demographic variables. Results Four latent profiles were identified: youth who perceived (1) low change, (2) improvement only, (3) moderate instability and (4) high instability in relationship quality. Higher perceived instability was associated with poorer functioning, with youth who reported only improvement reporting the highest overall level of functioning. Conclusions Adolescent perceptions of change in relationship quality were heterogeneous, and contribute to psychosocial functioning over and above their general evaluations of relationship quality. In particular, youth who perceive considerable change in their relationships with siblings and parents may require additional support in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
... Parent-child conflicts typically peak in early adolescence (Granic et al., 2003) and peers become gradually important sources of emotional support (Allen & Tan, 2016). Concomitantly, it is typical for adolescents to experience decline in attachment related trust (Ebbert et al., 2019) and increase in attachment avoidance towards own parents (Theisen et al., 2018;Weymouth & Buehler, 2016). This autonomy development is fostered by brain maturation and development, that establishes greater and increasingly complex forms of self-regulation (Ahmed et al., 2015). ...
Article
Full-text available
Brooding rumination is a maladaptive form of emotion regulation and confers a risk for psychopathology. Insecure attachment and low cognitive self-regulation are important antecedents of brooding. Yet, little is known about the developmental interplay between these two systems. Thus, we tested how children's attachment and cognitive self-regulation, conceptualized as effortful control (EC), interact to predict brooding. The participants in the three-wave longitudinal study were n = 157 children (10 to 14 years) and their mothers. Children reported their attachment and brooding, and mothers reported children's EC. Results showed that children with low avoidance received benefit from high EC to decrease brooding, whereas children with high anxiety brooded irrespective of EC. Thus, high EC may foster constructive emotion regulation among securely attached children, whereas the beneficial effects of high EC on emotional functioning seem to be overridden by insecurity. The functional role of cognitive self-regulation on different attachment strategies is discussed.
... As for "promoting involvement in the home, " covariance has been identified in the following measurement errors: Q28-Q29 and Q36-Q39. While positive parent-child relationships are sustained by communication and trust (Q28), this latter should not remain implicit, but rather, must be manifested (Q29) (Ebbert et al., 2019). On the other hand, a confusion between extracurricular (Q36) and cultural (Q39) activities has been confirmed, treating them as synonymous (Ladky and Peterson, 2008), when in fact, the former are academic and individualistic activities, while the latter are collective and are linked to family leisure (Hernández-Prados and Álvarez-Muñoz, 2019). ...
Article
Full-text available
The participation of families in schools where their children study is a recurring research topic. This field tends to address the perception of parents or teaching staff. This work is novel in that it considers what teachers, and not families, do to facilitate this participation. The purpose of this work has been to contrast a theoretical model with a multidimensional questionnaire designed to obtain information on the assistance provided by teachers to improve parental involvement in schools. It will allow us to lay the foundations for the content necessary for the initial and permanent training of teachers. Then, an initial questionnaire was created and, after being subjected to expert judgment, it was applied to 225 Spanish teachers, using a quantitative and a non-experimental methodology. After calculating the exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis and applying the structural equation model, a questionnaire (QFIS-TP) was obtained that had satisfactory construct validity and reliability.
... Chen et al., 2020;Craig et al., 2020). With regard to lower parental support, findings are in sync with developmental trends in longitudinal research where HAS samples, followed from middle through the end of high school, showed decreasing levels of trust and communication with both parents, and increasing levels of alienation (Ebbert et al., 2019). Within the context of COVID specifically, it is also possible that older youth needed relatively more reassurance (e.g., given their higher distress and worries about their futures), and thus were more likely to see their parents as "falling short" on providing support. ...
Article
Full-text available
This is a mixed-methods study of risk and resilience in a sample of over 14,000 students from 49 schools, assessed during the first 3 months of COVID-19 in the United States. Over a third of students were of color and almost a third received financial aid. Participation rates were typically 90–99%. Overall, rates of clinically significant depression and anxiety were lower during distance learning in 2020 as compared to parallel rates documented during 2019, with a few exceptions. Hispanic students did not show reductions in depression rates, nor did gender non-binary youth. Analyses of multiple risk and protective factors showed that in relation to depression, the most potent predictor was parent support, with effect sizes at least twice as high as those for any other predictor. Other robust predictors of depression included efficacy of learning online and concerns heard by school adults. In predicting to anxiety, parent support again had the largest effect sizes, followed by concerns heard at school, students’ worries about their futures, and worries about grades. In general, the absence of protective factors was more likely to be linked with high distress among youth of color than White students, and among girls and gender non-binary students as compared to boys. At a policy level, the findings call for concerted attention to the well-being of adults charged with caring for youth. Parents’ mental health has been increasingly threatened with the protracted stress linked with the pandemic. Thus, all avenues must be considered toward providing them with support—using feasible, community-based interventions—as this is always the most important step in fostering children's resilience through adversity. Additionally, schools’ expectations about learning will have to be adjusted. As educators try to make up for academic losses during the pandemic, they must avoid high workloads detrimental for students’ mental health (and thus ability to learn). Finally, there must be ongoing institutional mental health support for teachers, counselors, administrators, and staff. Many of these adults have provided critical safety nets for youth since the start of the pandemic and are themselves at high risk for burnout. In conclusion, findings clearly show that if a central societal goal is to maximize resilience among youth through the continuing pandemic related challenges, we will have to deliberately prioritize an “upstream” approach, ensuring ongoing support for the adults who take care of them in their everyday lives.
... This finding may be explained by girls' experience of greater changes, such as increased conflict [63], in their relationships with their mothers and fathers, relative to boys. For instance, among adolescents aged 12-18 years in the United States' New England region, girls perceived stronger increases in alienation from both parents and stronger declines in trust with mothers than did boys [64]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Internalizing mental health problems (i.e., depression and anxiety symptoms) are known to be related negatively to adolescents' well-being. However, whether this negative association manifests equally in boys and girls, and the potential buffering role of high-quality relationships with mothers and fathers, remain unknown. Thus, the present study was conducted to 1) investigate associations among adolescents' internalizing problems and mother- and father-adolescent relationship quality, on the one hand, and adolescents' well-being, on the other hand, 2) explore the buffering role of high-quality mother- and father-adolescent relationships in the association between adolescents' internalizing problems and well-being, and 3) examine gender differences in these main and buffering effects. Methods: The analysis sample consisted of 1064 adolescents (53.7% girls; aged 11-17 years) from three secondary schools in the Netherlands. Participants filled out an online questionnaire incorporating the Mental Health Continuum-Short Form to measure well-being, the Revised Child Anxiety and Depression Scale-25 to measure internalizing problems, and the Network of Relationships Inventory to measure mother- and father-adolescent relationship quality. The cross-sectional data were analyzed using path models in R, controlling for age, ethnocultural background, and education level. Multigroup analyses were performed to identify gender differences. Results: Adolescents with fewer internalizing problems (β = - 0.40, p < 0.001) and adolescents with higher-quality relationships with their mothers and fathers reported higher concurrent levels of well-being (β = 0.10 to 0.18, all p < 0.01). The quality of mother-adolescent relationships had a significantly larger association with adolescents' well-being than that of father-adolescent relationship quality. However, relationships with mothers and fathers did not significantly buffer the association between adolescents' internalizing problems and well-being. Multigroup analyses revealed no difference between boys and girls. Conclusions: The current study contributes to the understanding of internalizing problems as an important risk factor for adolescents' well-being, regardless of the quality of relationships with mothers and fathers. The quality of adolescents' relationships with their parents is associated positively with their well-being, even in the presence of internalizing problems. These findings underline the importance of mothers' and fathers' roles in adolescent boys' and girls' well-being.
Article
Although cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is an effective treatment for adolescents with anxiety disorders, the majority remain impaired following treatment. We developed a group CBT program (RISK) with high degrees of exposure practice and family and school involvement delivered in a community-based setting and investigated its effectiveness. The treatment involved adolescents (N = 90), with a primary diagnosis of anxiety disorder (82%) or obsessive-compulsive disorder (18%), and their families who received 38 hours of group treatment over 10 weeks. Diagnostic status and symptom severity were assessed at pre- and post-treatment, and a 12-month follow-up and benchmarked against previous effectiveness studies. Our results showed that, at post-treatment, the RISK-treatment was comparably effective as benchmarks on measures of diagnostic status, parent-rated measures, adolescent-rated measures, and clinician-rated measures. At 12-month follow-up all outcomes were superior to benchmarks, including the proportion of participants in remission (79.5%, 95% Highest Posterior Density Interval [74.7, 84.2]), indicating that the RISK-treatment enhanced effectiveness over time. The combination of group format, a high degree of exposure practice, and school and family involvement is a promising format for real-world settings that may help sustain and increase treatment effectiveness. Trial registered at helseforskning.etikkom.no (reg. nr. 2017/1367).
Chapter
Increasing poverty in some Latin American countries has transformed the structure, dynamics, and functioning of the family, affecting adolescents. Many of the continuities and discontinuities of adolescent development are associated with family processes related to macro-structural factors, such as culture, economic, health, and education policies. From an ecological-systemic perspective, poverty is considered a distal risk factor as it is associated with developmental issues of children and adolescents. Likewise, the family is a proximal factor that can play a risky or protective role to adolescent developmental trajectories and outcomes, depending on the complex interplay of the individual, family, and other ecological systems. Research in Latin America with adolescents living in adverse social and family contexts reports that many adolescents and families show good adaptation and resilience; however, a significative proportion presents mental health risk factors related to poverty and marginalization. This chapter presents the major perspectives and representative research in the field of resilience, highlighting studies with Latin American adolescents and families facing diverse situations, as well as an overview of main findings from a research project with Mexican adolescents living in family and socioeconomic adverse contexts. The implications for planning mental health actions for adolescents and families are discussed from an evidence-based preventive approach.
Article
Children of maternal caregivers abused in childhood are at increased risk for mental health problems including anxiety and depression. To date, most studies exploring the intergenerational transmission of trauma have focused on younger children, with far fewer studies investigating adolescent mental health. Previous research suggests that maternal childhood abuse negatively impacts the parent–adolescent relationship, which may contribute to the development and maintenance of adolescent mental health problems. The current study examined dyadic reports of maternal–adolescent relationship quality as mediators linking maternal reports of childhood abuse to adolescent depression and anxiety. The bootstrapped indirect effects from maternal childhood abuse to adolescent symptoms of anxiety and depression were significant through adolescent reports of relationship quality, but not through maternal reports of relationship quality. Findings suggest that an adolescent's perception of their maternal–adolescent relationship may mediate the relationship between their maternal caregiver's childhood abuse and their own symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Article
This study aimed to examine the association between childhood maltreatment, parent-child relationship quality with psychological symptoms and to explore the moderating role of parent-child relationship quality in the association between childhood maltreatment and psychological symptoms among adolescents. It also probed to the role of gender differences in this effect. A representative sample of 14,500 middle school students in China were asked to complete a standard questionnaire on the details of childhood maltreatment, parent-child relationship quality, and psychological symptoms. All data were analyzed using SPSS 23.0. The PROCESS program was used to analyze whether parent-child relationship quality moderated the link between childhood maltreatment and psychological symptoms. The analyses revealed significant correlations between childhood maltreatment, parent-child relationship quality, and psychological symptoms ( p < .001). Specifically, paternal relationship quality moderated the association between childhood maltreatment and psychological symptoms in the total sample ( B = –0.01, p < .05) and the subgroup of girls ( B = –0.01, p < .05), while maternal relationship quality moderated only the association between childhood maltreatment and psychological symptoms in the subgroup of boys ( B = –0.01, p < .05). As the findings indicate, priority should be given to the quality of parent-child relationship and gender-specific methods employed to effectively reduce the psychological symptoms of adolescents with a history of childhood maltreatment.
Chapter
Full-text available
In this chapter, we review evidence on a group recently identified as "at-risk", that is, youth growing up in the context of high achieving schools (HAS), predominated by well-educated, white collar professional families. Though these youngsters are thought of as "having it all", they are statistically more likely than normative samples to show serious disturbances across several domains including drug and alcohol use, as well as internalizing and externalizing problems. We review data on these problems with attention to gender-specific patterns, presenting quantitative developmental research findings along with relevant evidence across other disciplines. In considering possible reasons for elevated maladjustment, we appraise multiple pathways including aspects of family dynamics, peer norms, and pressures at schools. All of these pathways are considered within the context of broad, exosystemic mores: the pervasive emphasis, in contemporary American culture, on maximizing personal status, and how this can threaten the well-being of individuals and of communities. The chapter concludes with ideas for future interventions, with discussions on how research-based assessments of schools can best be used to reduce pressures, and to maximize positive adaptation, among youth in highly competitive, pressured school environments.
Article
Full-text available
In this prospective study of upper middle class youth, we document frequency of alcohol and drug use, as well as diagnoses of abuse and dependence, during early adulthood. Two cohorts were assessed as high school seniors and then annually across 4 college years (New England Study of Suburban Youth younger cohort [NESSY-Y]), and across ages 23–27 (NESSY older cohort [NESSY-O]; n s = 152 and 183 at final assessments, respectively). Across gender and annual assessments, results showed substantial elevations, relative to norms, for frequency of drunkenness and using marijuana, stimulants, and cocaine. Of more concern were psychiatric diagnoses of alcohol/drug dependence: among women and men, respectively, lifetime rates ranged between 19%–24% and 23%–40% among NESSY-Os at age 26; and 11%–16% and 19%–27% among NESSY-Ys at 22. Relative to norms, these rates among NESSY-O women and men were three and two times as high, respectively, and among NESSY-Y, close to one among women but twice as high among men. Findings also showed the protective power of parents’ containment (anticipated stringency of repercussions for substance use) at age 18; this was inversely associated with frequency of drunkenness and marijuana and stimulant use in adulthood. Results emphasize the need to take seriously the elevated rates of substance documented among adolescents in affluent American school communities.
Article
Full-text available
Compiled in this Special Section are recommendations from multiple experts on how to maximize resilience among children at risk for maladjustment. Contributors delineated processes with relatively strong effects and modifiable by behavioral interventions. Commonly highlighted was fostering the well-being of caregivers via regular support, reduction of maltreatment while promoting positive parenting, and strengthening emotional self-regulation of caregivers and children. In future work, there must be more attention to developing and testing interventions within real-world settings (not just in laboratories) and to ensuring feasibility in procedures, costs, and assessments involved. Such movement will require shifts in funding priorities—currently focused largely on biological processes—toward maximizing the benefits from large-scale, empirically supported intervention programs for today's at-risk youth and families.
Article
Full-text available
The central question we addressed was whether mothers’ adjustment might vary systematically by the developmental stages of their children. In an internet-based study of over 2,200 mostly well-educated mothers with children ranging from infants to adults, we examined multiple aspects of mothers’ personal well-being, parenting, and perceptions of their children. Uniformly, adjustment indices showed curvilinear patterns across children’s developmental stages, with mothers of middle-schoolers faring the most poorly, and mothers of adult children and infants faring the best. Findings based on children in mutually exclusive age groups -- e.g., mothers with only (one or more) infants, preschoolers, etc. -- had larger effect sizes than those based on the age of the mothers’ oldest child. In contrast to the recurrent findings based on children’s developmental stages, mothers’ adjustment dimensions showed few variations by their children’s gender. Collectively, results of this study suggest that there is value in preventive interventions involving mothers not just in their children’s infancy and preschool years, but also as their children traverse the developmentally challenging years surrounding puberty.
Article
This chapter identifies the most robust conclusions and ideas about adolescent development and psychological functioning that have emerged since Petersen’s 1988 review. We begin with a discussion of topics that have dominated recent research, including adolescent problem behavior, parent-adolescent relations, puberty, the development of the self, and peer relations. We then identify and examine what seem to us to be the most important new directions that have come to the fore in the last decade, including research on diverse populations, contextual influences on development, behavioral genetics, and siblings. We conclude with a series of recommendations for future research on adolescence.
Chapter
Promoting children’s mental health in education environments has many advantages. In the United States, preschool education and the care of children is not organized or consistent across jurisdictions or income levels. Consequently, the first time society pays attention to the development of children in an organized way is when they enter Kindergarten or grade one. Therefore, the investment in promoting children’s mental health, which is critical to child development and to society, can be universally supported by the educational system. The goal of this chapter is to highlight approaches to strengthening educational systems for the promotion of mental health from implementation and scaling research and systems science perspectives. We introduce theoretical and practical frameworks that incorporate both perspectives and deduce strategies of creating enabling contexts for promoting children’s mental health in educational environments.
Article
Studies suggest that affluence poses a risk for adolescents, but this has rarely been studied outside the United States. We examined the unique and additive roles of family and school affluence for adolescent outcomes among 10th-grade students (n = 7,203) in Oslo, Norway. Multilevel models were estimated separately by gender. For both boys and girls, school affluence was a risk for alcohol abuse and family affluence was a risk for conduct problems, although for conduct the risk was only at the very highest end of income distribution and adolescents in very poor families were also at risk. There was also a complex pattern of risk for early sexual debut; family affluence posed risk, but school affluence appeared protective.
Article
Research has identified risks of both poverty and affluence for adolescents. This study sought to clarify associations between income and youth mental and behavioral health by delineating economic risks derived from family, neighborhood, and school contexts within a nationally representative sample of high school students (N = 13,179, average age 16). Attending schools with more affluent schoolmates was associated with heightened likelihoods of intoxication, drug use, and property crime, but youth at poorer schools reported greater depressive and anxiety symptoms, engagement in violence, and for male adolescents, more frequent violence and intoxication. Neighborhood and family income were far less predictive. Results suggest that adolescent health risks derive from both ends of the economic spectrum, and may be largely driven by school contexts.