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29-05-2020 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 8/2020

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 8/2020

Daily Parent–Teen Conflict and Parent and Adolescent Well-Being: The Moderating Role of Daily and Person-Level Warmth

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 8/2020
Auteurs:
Karol Silva, Carol A. Ford, Victoria A. Miller
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Abstract

In early-mid adolescence, parent–teen conflicts become more intense and parents’ displays of warmth tend to decline temporarily. Daily increases of parent–teen conflict have been linked to concurrent increases in adolescent emotional distress, yet greater average levels of parental warmth are known to buffer adolescents’ response to daily stressors such as interpersonal conflict. It is unclear whether daily increases in parental warmth may also function as a protective buffer that attenuates the daily association between parent–teen conflict and individuals’ well-being. The present study aimed to fill an important gap in the literature by examining daily (within-person) fluctuations, and average between-person differences, in parental warmth as potential moderators of the daily association between parent–teen conflict intensity (defined here by the degree of negative emotions in parent–teen interactions) and well-being (distress, positive affect, and self-esteem) of both parents and adolescents. Data are based on daily reports from 120 parents–adolescents dyads recruited from a primary care practice in the Northeastern U.S. Almost all parents were mothers (Mage = 44.55, SD = 6.36), 61% of adolescents were female (Mage = 14.36, SD = 0.88), and 66% of dyads were African American. Multilevel modeling was used to assess the daily association between parent–teen conflict and well-being and examine daily and person-level (across-days) warmth as moderators of that association. Examining daily parental warmth as a moderator addressed whether the daily association between conflict and well-being varied as a function of when parental warmth increased or decreased within individuals (relative to individuals’ own daily average). In contrast, examining person-level mean warmth as a moderator addressed whether the daily association between conflict and well-being varied as a function of who, on average, reported higher vs. lower levels of parental warmth. As expected, both parents and adolescents reported significantly lower well-being on days they experienced more conflict than usual. Daily fluctuations in parental warmth did not moderate the daily associations between conflict and well-being in parents or adolescents, indicating that the daily association did not change when parents were warmer than usual. In adolescents, the daily associations between conflict and distress, as well as conflict and positive affect, were moderated by person-mean levels of parental warmth, such that daily increases in conflict were associated with higher distress and lower positive affect (on the same day) primarily among adolescents with average or below average levels of parental warmth. Daily conflict was not associated with lower well-being among adolescents with higher-than-average levels of parental warmth. In parents, neither daily nor person-level warmth moderated the daily association between conflict and well-being, suggesting that the negative, daily association between conflict and well-being did not change as a function of parents’ daily or average perceptions of warmth. These findings suggest that isolated, day-specific increases in warmth may be less protective than high, stable levels of parental warmth in mitigating the daily association between parent–teen conflict and adolescent well-being.

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