The role of parental monitoring behaviors on adjustment problems among non-Hispanic White and Hispanic early adolescents

Date

2017-12-08

Authors

Fernandez, Alejandra, Ph. D.

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Abstract

Previous research indicates that parental monitoring behaviors may act as promotive factors to decrease the risk for the development of subsequent early adolescent adjustment problems. However, limited research has examined the bidirectional associations between parental monitoring behaviors and adjustment problems, or the factors that may mediate these associations. Further, almost no research has examined race/ethnic group differences across the aforementioned associations. This dissertation comprises two studies that examined the bidirectional and indirect associations, through parent support, between two aspects of parental monitoring, child disclosure and parental solicitation, and two forms of adjustment problems, depressive symptoms and conduct problems, across a one-year time period among non-Hispanic White and Hispanic early adolescents. Participants were 209 non-Hispanic White and Hispanic early adolescents between the ages of 10 and 14 (67.5% female; 38.8% Hispanic) who completed a self-reported survey at two waves, with one year between each wave. Findings from study 1 indicated that the associations between parental monitoring behaviors and adjustment problems were not bidirectional. Adjustment problems did not predict subsequent parental monitoring behaviors. Rather, child disclosure predicted decreased levels of subsequent depressive symptoms, and parental solicitation predicted increased levels of subsequent depressive symptoms. These associations were equivalent across both race/ethnic groups. Findings from study 2 indicated that both aspects of parental monitoring were positively associated with concurrent levels of parental support similarly for both race/ethnic groups. In turn, parental support predicted increased levels of subsequent levels of depressive symptoms and conduct problems one year later, but only for Hispanic early adolescents. Therefore, parent support fully mediated the association between parent solicitation and depressive symptoms whereas it partially mediated the association between child disclosure and depressive symptoms, but only for Hispanic early adolescents. In addition, child disclosure also directly predicted decreased levels of subsequent depressive symptoms. Overall, findings supported the promotive role of child disclosure, while highlighting the complex role of parental solicitation and parental support. Findings from both studies emphasized the detrimental role of depressive symptoms on early adolescent development. Finally, findings indicated that differences across race/ethnic groups may not be as pronounced during early adolescence, but should continue to be examined into older adolescence.

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