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  • 1.
    Masche, J. Gowert
    et al.
    Högskolan Kristianstad, Sektionen för lärande och miljö, Avdelningen för Humanvetenskap. Högskolan Kristianstad, Forskningsmiljön ForFame.
    Olsson, Mimmi
    Högskolan Kristianstad, Sektionen för lärande och miljö.
    Wik, Sandra
    Högskolan Kristianstad, Sektionen för lärande och miljö.
    How to foster depression: bother your adolescent child all the time, but leave it alone when it needs you2010Konferansepaper (Fagfellevurdert)
    Abstract [en]

    Is there another way to predict adolescents’ depressive symptoms than by trait-like parenting characteristics, such as affective support (Barber, Stolz, & Olsen, 2005)? Drawing from a systems perspective (Lollis & Kuczynski, 1997) and Social Domain Theory (Smetana & Asquith, 1994), this paper suggests that parental responses in key situations might be important for the development of adolescent depression: (a) adolescent-parent conflict; (b) dangerous situations; (c) need of help with a problem. These three situations require steering adolescents’ behaviors in a responsive way, i.e., combinations of demandingness and responsiveness. Thus, the roles of authoritative, authoritarian, indulgent, and indifferent parental responses in these key situations will be rested.

    In order to have a standard of comparison, well-established parenting styles (Barber, et al., 2005; Steinberg, 2001) will be evaluated, too. Lack of support has been found to predict depressive symptoms. The prediction by behavior control and the support-by-control interaction will be tested as well, for a better comparability to the test of parental responses in specific situations.

    A total of 108 Swedish adolescents aged 14-15 (67 girls, 41 boys) filled out questionnaires at school. For depressive symptoms and parental support, well-established American scales were used. Behavior control was measured by scales tapping parental control and solicitation of information, respectively. 3 (situations) by 4 (parental responses) by 2 (parent genders) scales of parental responses in key situations were newly developed. For each type of situations, the respondents received two typical examples (e.g., having problems with a friend or a girlfriend/boyfriend as an example of a problem) and rated the frequencies of various parental responses. Because all mother and father scales were highly correlated, they were standardized and added (complementary analyses with either mother or father data yielded similar results; so did analyses including adolescent gender).

    Parental responses in key situations explained 30% of variance of adolescent depression. Authoritative responses to problems were associated with low levels of depression. Moreover, indifferent responses to all three kinds of situations predicted higher levels of depression.

    Main effects of parenting style variables explained 14% of the variance of depression. Adding the interactions between support and parental control and solicitation explained additional 8% of variance. Most of this effect was due to an interaction between acceptance and solicitation. Authoritarian parenting predicted the highest depression levels whereas supportive styles predicted low depression. When entering either reactions in key situation first into the regression equation and parenting styles next, or vice versa, each of them predicted significant portions of variance above and beyond the other. However, reactions in key situations produced the larger increase in explained variance.

    Albeit cross-sectional data do not allow for causal conclusions, this study has generated important hypotheses for future studies: If parents constantly bother their adolescent child with requests to talk about something, in combination with low levels of support, the child is likely to show elevated levels of depression. Even more deleterious might be adolescents’ experience to be left alone when they need their parents.

  • 2.
    Masche, J. Gowert
    et al.
    Högskolan Kristianstad, Sektionen för lärande och miljö, Avdelningen för Humanvetenskap. Högskolan Kristianstad, Forskningsmiljön ForFame.
    Persson, Kristina
    Högskolan Kristianstad, Sektionen för lärande och miljö.
    Löfgren, Malin
    Högskolan Kristianstad, Sektionen för lärande och miljö.
    Do parents only have to avoid being nasty, or should they even be nice?: the case of adolescent substance use and deviance2012Konferansepaper (Fagfellevurdert)
    Abstract [en]

    Traditionally, parents’ firm and consistent behavior control has been regarded as effective protection against adolescents’ drug use and delinquency (Steinberg, 2001). However, the validity of findings has been questioned (Stattin & Kerr, 2000; Kerr & Stattin, 2000). The widely-used indicator of behavior control, parental knowledge, appears rather to reflect a trusting relationship (Masche, 2010). However, little is known about which facets of the relationship are most important: Is it more “nasty,” guilt inducing and interfering behavior, i.e. psychological control, which leads to substance use and deviance? Or is it parents’ ability to be “nice” and create close family relations marked by solidarity that prevents these problem behaviors?

    A total of 143 adolescents attending grade 9 (age 15-16, 58% male) in two medium-sized Swedish cities filled out questionnaires at school. Scales on alcohol and drug use focused on frequency and intensity of use and on symptoms of substance abuse. The deviance scale ranged from minor delinquency to violent acts. Adolescents answered also scales on their experienced relationship quality to their parents, on parents’ psychological control and behavior control (e.g., needing permission before going out on the evening). Mother and father scales were summed because of their high inter-correlations. Drug consumption was generally low, and several items did not even vary between participants. Still, all scales were sufficiently reliable (α’s ≥ .80). Because 44% of the sample had other than Swedish ethnic background – in most instances were the parents born in the Middle East –, ethnicity, gender, and their interaction were included into the analyses, but did not predict substance use or deviance.

    Although alcohol use and deviance were highly correlated, these two problem behaviors were somewhat differently associated with parenting and relationship variables: Adolescents who consumed a lot of alcohol tended to have poor relationships to psychologically controlling parents. However, deviant adolescents reported in the first place psychologically controlling parents and only to a lesser degree also a poor relationship quality. Drug use (which generally was low) was only associated with psychological control. Multiple regression analyses revealed whether each parenting and relationship variable uniquely predicted substance use and deviance. The results were similar to the bivariate correlations, confirming the general importance of psychological control. Relationship quality still predicted low alcohol use, but was not any longer important for deviance when controlled for psychological control. Behavior control did not predict any of these problem behaviors in any analysis.

    This study confirms findings questioning the role of behavior control (Kerr & Stattin, 2000; Stattin & Kerr, 2000). It tells what might be important instead. Hostile, guilt-inducing behavior was consistently associated with externalizing problems whereas a close relationship showed more specific associations. To the degree that parents affect adolescents’ externalizing behaviors rather than are affected by them, these findings suggest that parents above all should avoid being “nasty,” i.e. psychologically controlling. Being “nice,” i.e., to contribute to a close companionship with their children, also appears important, but more specifically against alcohol consumption.  

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