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14-11-2016 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 5/2017

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 5/2017

Method Variance in Adolescents’, Mothers’, and Observers’ Reports of Peer Management: Nuisance or Information?

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 5/2017
Auteurs:
David P. Valentiner, Nina S. Mounts

Abstract

The purpose of this investigation was to examine discrepancies among three informants’ (adolescents, mothers, and observers) reports of maternal consulting in regard to peer relationships and the relation of the discrepancies to four social adjustment variables (prosocial behavior, loneliness, positive friendship quality, and physical victimization). An ethnically diverse sample of 70 early adolescents (51 % female) and their mothers participated in this multimethod investigation. Adolescent reports of parental consulting, but not mother or observer reports, were significantly associated with adolescent reports of four psychosocial outcomes. Recognizing that comparison of equivalent regression models can inform interpretations of the data such as the monomethod associations found in this study, this article describes and discusses a strategy for analyzing data from multiple informants. The associations of adolescent reports of parental consulting with loneliness and physical victimization could be fully explained in terms of adolescent bias or other systematic variance uniquely associated with adolescent reports, but those with prosocial behavior and positive friendship quality could not. The view that discrepancies between mother and adolescent reports of parental consulting reflect poor relationship quality appeared most applicable in models of positive friendship quality, somewhat applicable in models of prosocial behavior and physical victimization, and not applicable in models of loneliness. The view that discrepancies might reflect normative and adaptive autonomy was not supported. In addition to adding to our understanding of maternal consulting in regard to peer relationships, it is also hoped that the analytic approach developed for this study will stimulate developments in research that uses multiple informants.

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