Presentation on theme: "Self-regulation of attention, emotion, and behavior by substance-using adolescents during family interaction assessment tasks correlated with specific."— Presentation transcript:
Self-regulation of attention, emotion, and behavior by substance-using adolescents during family interaction assessment tasks correlated with specific relationship patterns relevant to structural family systems theory, though not always in ways the theory predicted. Dispositional (trait) assumptions predominant in the literature may distract attention from current, contextual influences on adolescent self-regulation. Participants were 457 families with a 12-17 year-old adolescent referred for substance-abuse treatment in NIDA CTN protocol 014. The identified adolescent drug users were 79% male, 44% Hispanic, and 23% African-American. Before treatment began, families participated in a family interaction assessment task (FIAT) in which they planned a menu, described what pleased and displeased them about each other, and discussed a recent family argument. Later, using video recordings of these FIATs, three independent teams of trained observers reliably coded (a) the identified adolescent drug user’s self-regulation in the interrelated domains of attention, behavior, emotion, and initiation; (b) specific structural family systems patterns related to Szapocznik et al.’s (1991) rating scheme, but focused more squarely on anomalies of the generation boundary (Rohrbaugh et al., 2007); and c) the overall quality of family functioning based on the Global Assessment of Relational Functioning (GARF) scale (Dausch et al., 1996). FIATs included an average of 3.5 family members (range = 2-10), with 32% single parent-child dyads. Index adolescents also completed the Youth Self Report (YSR; Achenbach & Rescorla, 1991), and both the adolescent and a consenting parent described the adolescent’s behavior using parallel forms of the DISC Predictive Scales. Although deficits in adolescent self-regulation (ASR) correlate with a variety of youth problems, including adolescent substance abuse (Wills & Dishion, 2004), research has focused more on trait-like aspects of ASR than on the social contexts in which it occurs. Structural family systems theory (Minuchin, 1974; Haley, 1986) suggests that the immediate context of family interaction may be especially relevant to an adolescent’s ability to self-regulate in specific social situations. Of particular interest is the structural systems hypothesis that compromised ASR reflects specific anomalies of the generation boundary between parents and children (e.g., role reversal, disengagement, cross-generation triangles). To examine this, we correlated observer ratings of self-regulation by adolescent substance users with independent ratings of structural family systems patterns during video-recorded family interaction tasks. A secondary aim was to compare ASR observed during actual family interaction to trait measures of ASR based on adolescent and parent reports. Structural Family Systems Correlates of Self-Regulation by Substance-Using Adolescents During Observed Family Interaction* Audrey Cleary, Florencia Lebensohn-Chialvo, Michael J. Rohrbaugh, & Varda Shoham University of Arizona Adolescents regulate themselves best when their family functions well as a group. Here, ASR was also uniquely associated with specific dyadic and triadic family processes highlighted by structural family systems theory. Interestingly, while poor ASR reflected intergenerational disengagement and conflict avoidance as expected, adolescents tended to show better regulation when (a) they were in closer alliance with one parent than their two parents were with each other, and (b) we observed them supporting or directing a parent more than the parent supported or directed them. The latter findings may appear inconsistent with structural-systems hypotheses and much supporting research (e.g., Mann et al., 1990), except (a) the theory also predicts that symptomatic behavior (e.g., poor self-regulation) can have adaptive systemic consequences, at least in the short run, and (b) our context-specific ratings of ASR in the present study were virtually unrelated to trait measures of adolescent problem severity. Viewing ASR in the context of dynamic, ongoing family interaction stands in contrast to static, trait-like, “skill” formulations predominant in the developmental psychology literature. Dispositional (trait) assumptions may distract attention from contemporaneous contextual influences on adolescent self-regulation. This study was supported by NIDA Awards R01-DA17539-01, U10-DA15815, and U10-DA13720. Achenbach, T.M., & Rescorla, L.A. (2001). Manual for the ASEBA School-Age Forms & Profiles. Burlington, VT: University of Vermont, Research Center for Children, Youth & Families. Dausch, B.M., Miklowitz,D.J., & Richards, J.A. (1996). Global Assessment of Relational Functioning Scale (GARF): II. Reliability and validity in a sample of bipolar patients. Family Process, 35, 175-189. Haley, J. (1986). Problem solving therapy. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Mann, B. J., Borduin, C. M., Henggeler, S. W., & Blaske, D. M. (1990). An investigation of systemic conceptualizations of parent-child coalitions and symptom change. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 58, 336-34. Minuchin, S. (1974). Families and family therapy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Rohrbaugh, M.J., Hasler, B.P., Lebensohn-Chialvo, F., & Shoham, V. (2007). Manual for the Global Structural Family Systems Ratings (GSFSR). Tucson, AZ: Family Research Laboratory, University of Arizona. Szapocznik, J., et al. (1991). Assessing change in family functioning as a result of treatment: The Structural Family Systems Rating Scale (SFSR). Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 17, 295-310. Wills, T.A. & Dishion, T.J. (2004). Temperament and adolescent substance use: A transactional analysis of emerging self-control. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychology, 33, 69-91. ) ASR observed during family interaction was minimally related to trait measures of the same construct, with only behavioral and emotional self- regulation by boys correlating modestly with YSR and DISC total problem scores. Surprisingly, observed ASR initiation by girls correlated with trait reports of more internalizing and externalizing problems (rs >.20, ps <.05). Because initiation was also a relative outlier in reliability analyses, we excluded this dimension from the overall index of observed ASR. California-Arizona Node NIDA Clinical Trials Network U10 DA 015815 Although ASR scores showed high rank-order stability across discussion topics (rs >.67), mean levels of observed ASR decreased markedly from the neutral menu topic to the more conflict-laden task of discussing a family argument (Figure 1). Overall ASR was unrelated to the index adolescent’s gender, age, or ethnicity. ASR was best when fewer people participated in the FIAT (r = -.19) when discussion concerned family members not present (r =.20), and when GARF scores indicated better functioning by the family as a group (r =.35). In the main analyses, ratings of specific structural patterns explained ASR variation independent of global family functioning and family size (R 2 change =.31, p <.001), but not always in ways structural family systems theory might have predicted: While disengagement (b = -.43) and conflict avoidance (b = -.13) correlated with poor ASR as expected, regression beta weights for enmeshment and identified patient-hood were unremarkable, and those for cross- generation coalitions (b =.22) and parent- child role reversal (b =.16) indicated significant associations with better ASR. __________________________ * Correspondence address: Audrey Cleary, Department of Psychology, University of Arizona, P.O. Box 210068, Tucson, AZ 85721-0068 (e-mail: email@example.com).