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22-09-2020 Open Access

The Role of the Family’s Emotional Climate in the Links between Parent-Adolescent Communication and Adolescent Psychosocial Functioning

Tijdschrift:
Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology
Auteurs:
Sabina Kapetanovic, Therése Skoog
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Abstract

The current study was designed to extend the parenting literature by testing the moderating role of the family’s emotional climate, operationalized with parent-adolescent emotional closeness and adolescent feelings of being overly controlled by parents on the longitudinal associations between parent-driven communication efforts (i.e. parental behavioral control and solicitation of information from their adolescent), adolescent-driven communication efforts (i.e. adolescent disclosure and secrecy) and adolescent psychosocial functioning (i.e. emotional problems, conduct problems, delinquency, and wellbeing). We conducted a series of cross-lagged models controlling for adolescent gender and ethnicity using a two-wave Swedish longitudinal set of self-report data (N = 1515, 51% girls, M age = 13.0 and 14.3 years at T1 and T2, respectively). Multi-group analyses revealed that the negative links between T1 parental control and T2 adolescent delinquency, T1 parental solicitation and T2 adolescent conduct problems and delinquency, and T1 emotional problems and T2 adolescent disclosure were moderated by the family’s emotional climate. When the family’s emotional climate was positive, the parenting strategies had a more positive effect on adolescent psychosocial functioning, and adolescents with emotional problems communicated more openly with their parents. These findings suggest that the relational context in the family is an important protective factor and add specificity to the previously established role of parent-adolescent communication in adolescent psychosocial development. In terms of preventive interventions, strategies to enhance the family’s emotional climate should be considered prior to teaching specific parenting strategies.

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