Date of Award

2014

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology

Abstract

Within the last ten years, researchers have begun to recognize that youth from affluent backgrounds report elevated adjustment problems (Csikszentmihalyi & Schneider 2001; Luthar & Lantendresse 2005a), yet contributing factors have rarely been investigated. The present study explored various parenting variables and their influence on adolescents from affluent communities, including two parent-focused parenting variables (i.e., parental perfectionism and parent life satisfaction) and three adolescent-focused parenting variables (i.e., perceived parental pressure, parents' future goals for their children, and parental involvement in their children's lives). Using a mixed methods approach (i.e., quantitative and qualitative data), both linear and curvilinear relations between parenting variables and adolescent adjustment (i.e., depressive symptoms, anxiety, and life satisfaction) as well as mediation and moderation models were examined. Participants included 10th grade students and their parents (n = 88 parent-child pairs) from four affluent high schools in the Northeast and Midwest. Although it was proposed that parents' traits and adjustment could be linked to adolescent adjustment through various parental behaviors and values (i.e., mediation), we found more support for the conditions under which parental factors may be related to affluent adolescent adjustment (i.e., moderation). Lower levels of parental pressure, less emphasis on achievement-oriented values, and greater emphasis on fulfillment-oriented values provided circumstances in which parental traits and adjustment could be linked to healthier adolescent adjustment. Findings also highlighted that the synchronicity or match between what the child needs/desires and the parent's emotional and behavioral involvement may be of particular importance. Additionally, socially prescribed perfectionism was a consistently unfavorable aspect of parenting, linked to other undesirable parenting variables, and negatively associated with positive aspects of parenting. In contrast, parent life satisfaction was associated with greater emphasis on adolescent growth and fulfillment.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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