Method: This study is a secondary analysis of baseline and post-test data from the Family Groups for Urban Youth with Disruptive Behavior study currently underway at the Mount Sinai Medical School, Department of Psychiatry and Community Medicine (Grant Number 5R01 MH072649 from the National Institute of Mental Health; Principal Investigator, Mary M. McKay, Ph.D.). Path analysis was used to estimate the direct and indirect effects of parent-child beliefs about the family discrepancies, parent-child family cohesion discrepancies and participation in the Multiple Family Group (MFG) intervention on youth disruptive behavior.
Results: Parent-child family functioning discrepancies were found to be associated with youth disruptive behavior. Results show that when children had less traditional views about family values than their parents, youth disruptive behavior increased (Β=.234, SE=.03, p<.05). However, when children viewed the family as being more cohesive than their parents, youth disruptive behavior decreased (Β=-.171, SE=.06, p<.05). Participation in MFG was associated with youth disruptive behavior (Β=-.250, SE=.09, p<.01). On average, children who participated in MFG had significantly less disruptive behavior at post-test than children who received outpatient mental health treatment. Parent-child family functioning discrepancies at baseline had an indirect effect on youth disruptive behavior at post-test (Β=.104, SE=.04, p<.01; Β=-.076, SE-.03, p<.01).
Implications: Given the relationship between discrepancies in the perceptions of family functioning between parents and children and youth disruptive behavior, it may be important for clinicians to assess for discrepancies when working with youth who struggle with their behavior. Finding out how children view their family and family relationships may provide useful information that can be used to improve behavior. Also, when designing new interventions, addressing the issue of discrepancy within the curriculum may produce promising child outcomes.