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18-01-2017 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 2/2018

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 2/2018

Adolescents’ Conflict Management Styles with Mothers: Longitudinal Associations with Parenting and Reactance

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 2/2018
Auteurs:
Lies Christine Missotten, Koen Luyckx, Susan Branje, Stijn Van Petegem

Abstract

Adolescents’ conflict management styles with parents are assumed to have an important impact on the quality of the parent-adolescent relationship and on adolescents’ psychosocial development. Longitudinal research investigating possible determinants of these conflict management skills is scarce. The parenting context and adolescents’ tendency to reject maternal authority are expected to shape adolescents’ conflict management styles. Therefore, the present three-wave longitudinal study focuses on how parenting and adolescents’ reactance relates to adolescents’ conflict management styles and conflict frequency with mothers over time, and whether reactance may also explain the associations between parenting and certain conflict variables. We addressed these research questions by using a hybrid cross-lagged panel model with parenting as a latent variable (i.e., supportive parenting) and the other variables as manifest variables. Supportive parenting was measured by four well-known parenting dimensions: autonomy support, responsiveness, psychological control, and harsh control. Four conflict styles were investigated: positive problem solving, withdrawal, conflict engagement, and compliance. Questionnaires were completed by 812 adolescents at three annual waves (52% girls at Time 1). Supportive parenting was associated with fewer conflicts, more positive problem solving, and less compliance and reactance over time. Reactance was associated with more conflicts, conflict engagement and withdrawal, and less compliance. We did not find evidence for the mediating role of reactance in the over-time associations between parenting and adolescents’ conflict management and frequency. Both parenting and reactance appeared important and unique determinants for adolescents’ conflict management styles and frequency.

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