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Marital Satisfaction and the Development of Autonomy and Close Friendships in Early Adolescence Jessica R. Meyer L. Wrenn Thompson Kathleen Boykin McElhaney.

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Presentation on theme: "Marital Satisfaction and the Development of Autonomy and Close Friendships in Early Adolescence Jessica R. Meyer L. Wrenn Thompson Kathleen Boykin McElhaney."— Presentation transcript:

1 Marital Satisfaction and the Development of Autonomy and Close Friendships in Early Adolescence Jessica R. Meyer L. Wrenn Thompson Kathleen Boykin McElhaney Joseph P. Allen University of Virginia Copies of Today’s Talk & Related Research will be available at:

2 The Early Adolescent’s Transition: from Parent- to Peer- Orientation Formation of peer relationships is an important developmental task –By early adolescence, children perceive friends as supportive as parents –By mid-adolescence, perceive friends as most frequent providers of support (Furman & Buhrmester, 1992) Lack of social competence linked to psychosocial impairment (McGhee & Williams, 1991) Autonomy from parents linked to: –fewer psychological problems (Cooper et al., 1983; Grotevant & Cooper, 1985) –higher ego development (Allen et al., 1994) –more work orientation & better academic performance (Allen et al., 1994)

3 What Predicts Successful Autonomy from Parents and Development of Close Friendships? –Child Rearing (Ladd, 1992) –Parent-Child Interaction Styles (Putallaz & Heflin, 1990) –Parent-Child Relationship Quality (Fauber et al., 1990) –Influence of Marital Relationship?

4 Research Questions Does Marital Satisfaction Predict: –Teen’s Autonomy with Parents? –The Development of Teen’s Friendship Quality? Is the Relationship between Marital Satisfaction and Teen’s Autonomy and Friendship Quality Mediated by the Parent- Child Relationship (i.e. attachment with parents) ?

5 Methodology 184 Adolescents, their Mothers, & Best Friends Assessed Annually, Beginning at Age 13 Community-based Sample from Small Urban Area Equal numbers of Males & Females Socio-Economically Diverse (Median Family Income = $40,000-$60,000 range) 31% African-American; 69% European American

6 Measure: Marital Satisfaction Dyadic Adjustment Scale (Spanier, 1976) –Marital Satisfaction Subscale Mother’s Self-Report 10 items: –How often do you discuss or have you considered divorce, separation, or termination of your relationship? –Do you confide in your mate? –Do you kiss your mate? –How happy are you in your relationship?

7 Measure: Observed Adolescent Autonomy with Parents Autonomy and Relatedness Coding System (Allen et al., 1996) –10-minute videotaped interactions between adolescents & their mothers –Discussion of disagreement identified by adolescents –Autonomous behavior based on adolescents’ expressions of: Reasoned arguments Confidence in arguments

8 Measures: Adolescents’ Development of Close Friendships Supportive Behavior Task (Allen et al.,2003) –6-minute videotaped interactions between adolescents and best friends –Discussion of adolescent’s problem –Intimacy Factor consists of: Scale 1: Expressions of emotional support Scale 2: Expressions of self-disclosure Scale 3: Expressions of talk about others

9 Measures: Adolescents’ Development of Close Friendships, continued Interpersonal Competence Questionnaire (ICQ) (Buhrmester, 1994) –Best Friend Report about Target Teen –8-item factor of Emotional Support How Good is ____ at: –Showing that he/she really cares when someone talks about problems? –Helping people work through their thoughts & feelings about important decisions? Inventory of Peer and Parent Attachment (IPPA) (Armsden & Greenburg, 1989) –Teen Report about Relationship with Friend –10-item factor of Mutual Trust She listens to what I have to say She is fairly easy to talk to

10 Measure: Parent/Child Relationship Inventory of Peer and Parent Attachment (IPPA) (Armsden & Greenburg, 1989) –Teen’s Report of Dyadic Trust –Teen’s Report of Attachment with Mother Supportive Behavior Task (Allen et al.,2003) –Observed Intimacy between Mother & Teen –Observed Warmth between Mother & Teen

11 Results: Predicting Observed Autonomy with Mothers from Marital Satisfaction Step 1. β ΔR2 Total R2 Gender (1=M; 2=F).07 Age.05 Income.31***.10**.10** Step 2. Marital Satisfaction.21**.03**.13** Teens whose mothers reported more marital satisfaction are more likely to demonstrate higher levels of autonomy with their mothers.

12 Results: Predicting Observed Intimacy with Peers at Age 14 from Marital Satisfaction Step 1. β ΔR2 Total R2 Intimacy at Age 13.28***.08***.08*** Step 2. Gender (1=M; 2=F).35*** Age.01 Income ***.19*** Step 3. Marital Satisfaction.21**.08**.27*** Teens whose mothers reported more marital satisfaction displayed relative increases in intimacy with their best friends over the following year.

13 Results: Predicting Best Friends’ Report of Teen Emotional Support at Age 14 from Marital Satisfaction Step 1. β ΔR2 Total R2 Emotional Support at Age 13.22**.05**.05** Step 2. Gender (1=M; 2=F).24** Age -.19* Income.06.09**.14*** Step 3. Marital Satisfaction.19*.10*.24*** Teens whose mothers reported more marital satisfaction demonstrated relative increases in emotional support with their friends over the following year.

14 Results: Predicting Teen Report of Trust with Friends at Age 14 from Marital Satisfaction Step 1. β ΔR2 Total R2 Trust at Age 13.49***.24*** Step 2. Gender (1=M; 2=F).13 Age.02 Income *** Step 3. Marital Satisfaction.19*.03*.30*** Teens whose mothers reported more marital satisfaction reported relative increases in mutual trust with their friends over the following year.

15 Conclusions Qualities of the Couple Relationship have important links to: –Adolescent Autonomy with Parents –Development of Adolescent Friendships In this study, the link between marital satisfaction & the development of adolescent autonomy and friendships is not explained by the parent-child relationship Acknowledgements: We would like to thank the National Institute of Mental Health for funding awarded to Joseph P. Allen, Principal Investigator, (Grants #R01-MH44934, and R01-MH58066) to conduct and write-up this project.


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