Thursday, January 11, 2018: 3:15 PM-4:45 PM
Marquis BR Salon 7 (ML 2) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
Cluster: Adolescent and Youth Development
Melissa Lippold, PhD, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
With diverse datasets spanning from childhood to young adulthood, these three longitudinal papers provide evidence that parenting and parent-child relationships play a central role in youth adjustment, including the development of substance use, delinquency, depression, as well as adult educational attainment and employment. Importantly, these papers highlight the role that parenting plays in promoting youth well-being across diverse samples, including rural youth, youth in stepfamilies, and youth with histories of child maltreatment and child welfare involvement. Further, the studies provide important insights into effective intervention strategies to promote youth well-being. In paper 1, the authors examined how fluctuations in parental warmth and hostility across early adolescence— which they term lability — are associated with later youth substance use and delinquency among a sample of rural youth. The authors found that even when controlling for levels and developmental trends in parenting, youth who experience greater fluctuations (e.g., more “ups and downs”) in parental warmth and hostility were more likely to engage in later substance use. Girls who experienced more parenting fluctuations were also more likely to engage in delinquency. Fluctuations in parent-child relationships may be an important risk factor for early substance use among rural youth and an important target for family-based interventions to prevent substance use and delinquency. In paper 2, the authors use factor mixture modeling to identify constellations of relationship quality in stepfamilies during adolescence—including relationships between biological parents and youth, stepparents and youth, and between members of the stepcouple relationship. The researchers found that youth in families with a disconnected pattern of relationships (i.e., youth had poor relationships with each of their parental figures) reported the highest levels of depression and lowest levels of self-esteem. Youth in families with patterns characterized by high levels of couple conflict were at greater risk for externalizing problems. A holistic view of stepfamily relationships provides key insights into the types of stepfamilies that might particularly benefit from interventions as well as intervention strategies that may promote youth adjustment in stepfamilies. In paper 3, the authors examine how family experiences, including adversity in the household and transitions in caregivers throughout childhood and adolescence, predict socioeconomic well-being in adulthood—for both maltreated and non-maltreated youth. The authors found for both maltreated and non-maltreated youth, more caregiver transitions was associated with less education and more unemployment in adulthood. For non-maltreated youth only, greater household adversity during childhood and adolescence was associated with less education and more income problems in adulthood. Results underscore the long-term, detrimental effects of household stressors on adult outcomes and the need for programs and policies that promote stable caregiver relationships and environments. Together these studies highlight the importance of family-based interventions in promoting youth well-being. The symposium will conclude with a discussion of the practice and intervention implications of these findings.
* noted as presenting author
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