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Characteristics of Parenting Associated with Adolescent to Parent Aggression Jessica Jablonski, Psy.D. Visiting Assistant Professor Richard Stockton College.

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Presentation on theme: "Characteristics of Parenting Associated with Adolescent to Parent Aggression Jessica Jablonski, Psy.D. Visiting Assistant Professor Richard Stockton College."— Presentation transcript:

1 Characteristics of Parenting Associated with Adolescent to Parent Aggression Jessica Jablonski, Psy.D. Visiting Assistant Professor Richard Stockton College of NJ Introduction Research has indicated there may be over a million cases of adolescent to parent violence each year in the United States (Agnew & Hugley, 1989). Harbin and Madden were the first to publish an article highlighting adolescent physical abuse of parents in The Literature has indicated a tendency for the adolescents to be Caucasian and from middle or upper class homes. (Agnew & Hugley, 1989; Charles, 1986; Cornell & Gelles, 1982; Hartz, 1995; Livingston, 1986; Nock & Kazdin, 2002; Paulson et al., 1990; Straus & Gelles, 1999). The research has been inconsistent regarding whether male or female adolescents are more likely to be aggressive toward parents. (Agnew & Hugley, 1989; Browne & Hamilton, 1998; Charles, 1986; Cornell & Gelles, 1982; Evans and Warren- Solhberg, 1988; Harbin & Madden, 1979; Kumagai, 1985; Langhinrichsen-Rohling & Neidig, 1995; Nock & Kazdin, 2002; Paulson et al., 1990). Mothers tended to be the more likely target rather than fathers. (Agnew & Hugley, 1989; Browne & Hamilton, 1998; Cornell & Gelles, 1982; Evans and Warren-Solhberg, 1988; Hartz, 1995; Kratcoski & Kratcoski, 1982; Kumagai, 1985; Libon, 1988; Nock & Kazdin, 2002; Pagelow, 1989; Paulson et al., 1990). For the most part, research on adolescent to parent aggression has not been grounded in theory, and has focused on family demographic variables rather than relational factors. This study uses Coercion Theory, a widely accepted current theory from the literature on adolescent generalized antisocial behavior, to investigate adolescent to parent aggression in order to provide a more complete understanding of this specific type of adolescent aggression. (Larzelere & Patterson, 1990) Coercion Theory describes a reciprocal, gradual process whereby a child exhibits some minor deviant behavior and the parents unintentionally reinforce it or do not carry out consistent discipline. In addition, parents of antisocial children tend not to reinforce prosocial behavior. Once this pattern begins, the child learns that exhibiting antisocial behavior works to get him what he wants. His behavior worsens in such a way that coerces the parent into giving up and complying with the child's inappropriate demands. In one of Patterson and his colleagues’ publications, they mention that with longer durations of coercive episodes between the parent and child, there is a greater likelihood for physical aggression between the parent and child. However, they have not focused research attention on this specific issue (Reid et al., 2002). Method Sample 1: A convenience sample was obtained from a small, private Catholic college. The sample consisted of 52 students (17-21 years old) who completed questionnaires about the parenting they received including parents’ consistency of discipline and use of positive reinforcement for good behavior, as well as any aggression they may have exhibited toward a parent (including both verbal and physical). The sample consisted of 76.9% female, 80.8% White, 9.6% Asian, 7.7% Black, and 1.9% Latino. Only 11.8 % of the sample reported their parents’ annual income to be less than $25,000, 13.7% reported their parents’income as greater than $100,000, and the remaining participants reported to be somewhere in between. Nearly 52% of the sample reported they were raised by both parents, and about 31% were raised by their mother only. Sample 2: A convenience sample was obtained from a larger, public college in New Jersey. The sample consisted of 182 students (17-24 years old) who completed the same questionnaires. The sample consisted of 73.6% female, 81.3% White, 8.2% Black, 4.4% Latino, 2.7% Asian, 1.1% Middle Eastern; and 2.2% identifying as Other. Only 7.6% of the sample reported their parents’ annual income to be less than $25,000, 20.3% reported their parents’ income as greater than $100,000, and the remaining participants reported to be somewhere in between. Nearly 50% of the sample reported they were raised by both parents; about 45% were raised by their mother; and the remaining reported either living with father only or with step-parents. Results The more inconsistent the discipline, the greater the adolescent to parent aggression. The less parents used positive reinforcement for good behavior, the greater the adolescent to parent aggression Adolescent to Parent Aggression Consistency of Discipline r =.275p =.048n = 52 r =.269p =.000n = 182 Parents’ Use of Positive Reinforcement r = -.278p =.046n = 52 r = -.189p =.010n = Conclusions The major contribution of this study is the connection made between Coercion Theory and Adolescent to Parent Aggression in order to provide a more complete understanding of this specific type of adolescent aggressive behavior. Having a larger theoretical framework in which to view this family problem may provide better case conceptualization for treatment of these families, and offer concrete ways to train parents to interact with their child to prevent or interrupt this coercive pattern of relating. Directions for Future Research Using an adolescent sample instead of relying on retrospective recall of young adults. Comparing parents’ responses on the same scales to look for consistency between adolescent and parent reports. Utilizing a larger, more diverse sample to determine gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status differences, as well as possible differences between single-parent and two-parent homes. Quasi-Experimental design to determine more than just a general relationship between the variables.


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