Within-family associations of parent–adolescent relationship quality and adolescent affective well-being

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Background: Parent–adolescent relationship quality is theorized to be an important correlate of adolescent affective well-being. Little is known about the within-family processes underlying parent–adolescent relationship quality and affective well-being over a period of months. This three-wave, preregistered study examined within- and between-family associations between parent–adolescent relationship quality (support and conflict) and adolescent well-being (negative and positive affect). In addition, we examined whether the associations differed between mothers and fathers, and for adolescents' affective well-being in different social contexts (at home, at school, with peers). Methods: The sample consisted of 244 Dutch adolescents (61.5% girls; age range: 12–17 years; mean age = 13.8 years). Random-intercept cross-lagged panel models were used. Results: At the between-family level, higher levels of support and lower levels of conflict were associated with higher levels of positive affect and lower levels of negative affect. At the within-family level, increases in support and decreases in conflict were concurrently associated with increases in positive affect and decreases in negative affect. More parent–adolescent conflict than typical also predicted increases in negative affect, 3 months later, and more negative affect and less positive affect than typical predicted increased conflict, 3 months later. These within-family effects were largely similar for fathers and mothers. Associations for conflict occurred through bidirectional processes: Parent–adolescent conflict shaped and was shaped by adolescents' emotions at home, at school, and with peers. Conclusion: Results suggest that parent–adolescent relationship quality (especially conflict) and adolescent affective well-being cofluctuate and predict each other over time within families.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberjad.12299
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Feb 2024

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© 2024 The Authors. Journal of Adolescence published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Foundation for Professionals in Services to Adolescents.


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