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Parent-adolescent relationships' influence on psychological functioning

Posted on June 14th, 2012

Providing therapy in New York, it is important to understand that, in addition to impacting adolescent development, parent-child relationships may serve as moderating and mediating factors in adolescent problem behaviors (Collins and Laurens, 2004; Micucci, 1998).  For example, weak or insecure attachments to parents may lead children to associate with negative peer groups, which can then lead children to problem behaviors (Micucci, 1998).  An increase in parental strictness and decrease in the adolescent’s perception of decision-making opportunities have been shown to be correlated with a stronger orientation toward one’s peers (Fuligni and Eccles, 1993).  This engagement in deviant or risky behaviors then elicits negative responses from parents such as ostracization of the adolescent or attempts to control the adolescent (Micucci, 1998).  This then reinforces poor attachments to parents as the adolescent begins to feel misunderstood and then begins to resist his parent’s efforts to control his behavior. When providing therapy in New York, I can help you address and remedy these complex and delicate processes with your child as a New York psychologist.

During therapy in New York, when considering adolescent development, it is important to take in to consideration contextual and cultural variations among families regarding parenting styles, communication, and conflict (Collins and Laursen, 2004).  This is especially important as a practicing New York psychologist as it is an area with such diversity.  For example, conflict appears to be more common in both North America and Europe than in Asia (Fuligni, 1998).  The parenting style that has been found to be most closely aligned with parent-child conflict in North American research is authoritarian parenting (Rohner and Pettengill, 1985).  As a New York psychologist, I know that differences exist in the perception of parenting practices.  Cultural differences in the interpretation of parent-adolescent relationships may be more apparent in immigrant families in which parents and children have acculturated differently (Fuligni, 1998).  Despite cultural and ethnic differences, studies have demonstrated that characteristics of parenting styles are consistently correlated with certain aspects of adolescent development (Steinberg, 2001). 

The influence of parent-child relationships on adolescent development has been well-studied and documented in the literature; however, limitations exist.  To understand the impact of these relationships on adolescent development in more detail, researchers need to broaden the construct of adolescent outcomes from autonomy, moral development, and identity to include other measures of adolescent development (Collins and Laursen, 2004).  Researchers should incorporate interpersonal competencies and developmental changes into research designs rather than relying solely on adolescent age.  This would help to understand the interplay between adolescent growth and change as well as the nature and developmental significance of relationships with parents.  Developmental level, rather than only age, is an important factor to consider when practicing therapy in New York. The literature has begun to explain that parent-adolescent relationships are moderators and mediators of these other important adolescent factors such as peers (Micucci, 1998), romantic relationships (Maguen and Armistead, 2006), school performance (Steinberg et al., 1992), and delinquency and substance abuse (Grotevant and Cooper, 1998) but has not fully explained how. 

Written by Dr. Cortney Weissglass as part of Clinical Research Project submitted to the Faculty of the American School of Professional Psychology of Argosy University, Washington, DC Campus, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology. Dissertation chair: Ann Womack, PhD and Member: Jennifer McEwan, PhD. August, 2010.

For a full list of references, contact Dr. Weissglass.

Dr. Weissglass will be licensed to provide therapy in New York in September of 2012. As a New York psychologist, Dr. Weissglass will be providing testing and therapy services to clients with a variety of concerns and diverse backgrounds.

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