Journal: Journal of child and family studies
This study investigated relationships between attachment insecurity, maladaptive cognitive schemas, and various types of psychopathological symptoms in a sample of clinically referred adolescents (N = 82). A mediation model was tested in which maladaptive schemas operated as mediators in the relations between indices of attachment quality and conduct, peer, and emotional problems. Results revealed partial support for the hypothesized mediation effect: the schema domain of disconnection/rejection acted as a mediator in the links between insecure attachment and peer problems and emotional problems. Further analysis of these effects revealed that different types of maladaptive schemas were involved in both types of psychopathology. Altogether, findings suggest that treatment of adolescent psychological problems may need to target the improvement of attachment relationships with peers and parents and the correction of underlying cognitive schemas.
Adolescent fighting affects 25% of youth, with the highest rates among African-Americans and Latinos but little is known about parental views on youth fighting. The purpose of this study was to examine African-American and Latino parents' perspectives on adolescent fighting and methods to prevent fighting. We conducted four focus groups with parents of African-American and Latino urban adolescents. Focus groups were stratified by race/ethnicity and fighting status. Groups were audiotaped, transcribed, and analyzed by three independent coders using thematic content analysis. Seventy-six percent of the 17 participants were female. Latino parents condoned fighting only as a last resort, and taught children about consequences of fighting, emotional regulation, and non-violent conflict-resolution strategies. African-American parents endorsed teaching non-violent strategies, but expressed some doubts about their effectiveness. African-American parents also suggested corporal punishment, but acknowledged that this may not be an optimal long-term strategy. Positive role modeling and involvement by teachers and other adults were cited as having important roles in fighting prevention. Suggested interventions included teaching adolescents non-violent conflict-resolution skills, anger management, and alternatives to fighting. Parents recommended that violence prevention programs incorporate the experiences of former fighters and be tailored to community needs. Study findings suggest that youth violence-prevention programs may benefit from addressing parental attitudes towards fighting and parent-child communication about fighting, teaching adolescents non-violent conflict-resolution skills, and tailoring programs by race/ethnicity. Promoting positive modeling and involvement by teachers and other adults also may be beneficial.
Children who possess less self-regulatory skill are at a disadvantage when compared to children who demonstrate greater skill at regulating their emotions, cognitions and behavior. Children with these regulatory deficits have difficulty connecting with peers, generating relationships with teachers, negotiating their social world, and succeeding academically. By understanding the correlates of self-regulatory abilities, interventions can be developed to ensure that children at-risk for poor self-regulation receive the support necessary to enhance their regulatory skills. Using data from a nationally representative survey of English-speaking American parents with children between the ages of two and eight (n = 1,141), we evaluated a host of demographic and parenting variables to isolate the correlates of self-regulation. Older children were found to have fewer regulatory problems than younger children while children from low-income homes and male children were found to have greater problems with self-regulation. Minority status, household composition (single vs multi-parent), and parental education were not significant correlates of self-regulation. Findings also illustrate the powerful relationship between parenting style and self-regulation. Parents who rely on nurturing parenting practices that reinforce the child’s sense of autonomy while still maintaining a consistent parenting presence (i.e., authoritative parenting) have children who demonstrate stronger self-regulatory skills. Parents who exert an excess of parental control (i.e., authoritarian parents) have children with weaker self-regulatory skills. And lastly, parents who have notable absence of control (i.e., permissive parents) are more likely to have children with considerable regulatory deficits. Results offer implications for both practitioners and scholars.
Over the past two decades, virginity pledges have proliferated in the US, despite mixed results regarding their effectiveness. Few studies have examined possible mechanisms that may shed light on why pledges work for some individuals but not others. Using a sample of emerging-adults aged 18-24 years old (n = 1,380),we examine the influence of religiosity on pledge signing and adherence, specifically whether the effectiveness of pledges is moderated by religiosity. Findings show that while religious participation is positively associated with signing a pledge, there is amoderating effect of religious commitment. That is, when religious commitment is high, adherence to the pledge is greater. However, for pledge signers with low religious commitment, there are unintended negative consequences with regard to increased participation in risky sexual behaviors, whether compared to other people who signed the pledge who are equally committed to their religion or to individuals who have never taken such a pledge. Implications for research and policy are discussed.
The present study was conducted with the aim to identify comorbid psychiatric disorders in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) (n = 40) and to compare those comorbidity rates to those in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (n = 40). Participants were clinically referred children aged 7-18 years. DSM-IV classifications were used for the primary diagnosis (ASD/ADHD), while comorbid psychiatric disorders were assessed using a structured diagnostic interview, the structured clinical interview for DSM-IV, childhood diagnoses (KID-SCID). Twenty-three children with ASD (57.5 %) had at least one comorbid disorder, whereas 16 children with ADHD (40.0 %) were classified as having at least one comorbid disorder. No group differences were found with respect to this comorbidity rate or for the rate of comorbid externalizing disorders (ODD and/or CD). However, children with ASD had more comorbid internalizing disorders compared to children with ADHD. More specifically, children with ASD had higher rates of anxiety disorders, but not mood disorders. No associations between comorbidity and age or between comorbidity and the intelligence quotient was found. It is important for clinicians to always be aware of, and screen for, comorbidity, and to consider treatment for these comorbid disorders. In addition, research should focus on establishing valid and reliable screening tools as well as effective treatment options for these comorbid disorders.
Approximately 10% of children grow up with a parent who has been diagnosed with a chronic medical condition (CMC) and seem to be at risk for adjustment difficulties. We examined differences in behavioral, psychosocial and academic outcomes between 161 adolescents from 101 families with a chronically ill parent and 112 adolescents from 68 families with healthy parents, accounting for statistical dependence within siblings. Children between 10 and 20 years and their parents were visited at home and filled in questionnaires. Multilevel analyses showed that 20-60% of the variance in most adolescent outcomes was due to the family cluster effect, especially in internalizing problem behavior, caregiving variables and quality of parent attachment. Conversely, the variance in stress and coping variables and grade point average (GPA) was mainly due to individual characteristics. Adolescents with parents affected by CMC displayed more internalizing problems than the comparison group and scored higher on frequency of household chores, caregiving responsibilities, activity restrictions, isolation, daily hassles and stress. In addition, their grade point average was comparatively worse. No group differences in externalizing problems, coping skills and quality of parent attachment were found. In conclusion, the family cluster effect largely explains adolescent outcomes and should be accounted for. Adolescents with parents affected by CMC are subject to an increased risk for internalizing problems, adverse caregiving characteristics, daily hassles, stress and a low GPA. According to a family-centered approach, school counselors and health care practitioners should be alert to adjustment difficulties of children with a chronically ill parent.
The broader autism phenotype (BAP) is a collection of sub-diagnostic autistic traits more common in families of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) than in the general population. BAP is a latent construct that can be defined using different domains, measured using multiple instruments, and reported using different techniques. Therefore, estimates of BAP may vary greatly across studies. Our objective was to systematically review studies that reported occurrence of BAP in parents of children with ASD in order to quantify and describe heterogeneity in estimates. We systematically searched PubMed and Scopus using PRISMA guidelines for studies quantifying percentage of parents of children with ASD who had BAP We identified 41 studies that measured BAP in parents of children with ASD. These studies used eight different instruments, four different forms of data collection, and had a wide range of sample sizes (N=4 to N=3299). Percentage with BAP ranged from 2.6% to 80%. BAP was more prevalent in fathers than mothers. Parental BAP may be an important tool for parsing heterogeneity in ASD etiology and for developing parent-mediated ASD interventions. However, the variety in measurement instruments and variability in study samples limits our ability to synthesize estimates. To improve measurement of BAP and increase consistency across studies, universal methods should be accepted and adopted across studies. A more consistent approach to BAP measurement may enable efficient etiologic research that can be meta-analyzed and may allow for a larger evidence base that can be used to account for BAP when developing parent-mediated interventions.
We examined whether parent engagement in parent training (PT) differed based on PT format (parent group-based with video versus mastery-based individual coaching with child) in an economically disadvantaged sample of families seeking behavioral treatment for their preschool children in an urban mental health clinic. Parents (N=159; 76.1% mothers, 69.8% African American, 73% low-income) were randomized to one of two interventions, Chicago Parent Program (parent group + video; CPP) or Parent Child Interaction Therapy (individualized mastery-based coaching; PCIT). Parent engagement indicators compared were PT attendance and completion rates, participation quality, and parent satisfaction. Risk factors predictive of PT attrition (parent depression, psychosocial adversity, child behavior problem severity, length of wait time to start PT) were also compared to determine whether they were more likely to affect engagement in one PT format versus the other. No significant differences were found in PT attendance or completion rates by format. Clinicians rated parents' engagement higher in PCIT than in CPP while satisfaction with PT was rated higher by parents in CPP compared to PCIT. Never attending PT was associated with more psychosocial adversity and externalizing behavior problems for CPP and with higher baseline depression for PCIT. Parents with more psychosocial adversities and higher baseline depression were less likely to complete PCIT. None of the risk factors differentiated CPP completers from non-completers. Delay to treatment start was longer for PCIT than CPP. Strengths and limitations of each PT format are discussed as they relate to the needs and realities of families living in urban poverty.
Families experiencing child maltreatment or risk factors for child maltreatment often receive referrals to interventions focused on changing parenting practices. Compliance with specific parenting programs can be challenging as many of the stressors that place families at-risk may also interfere with program participation. Because families may receive limited benefit from programs they do not fully receive, it is critical to understand the relationship between parenting stress and barriers to program completion. We used structural equation modeling to examine the relationship among parenting stress, perceived barriers to program participation, and program completion in two datasets involving low-income parents. Data were collected at two time points from a sample of parents involved with child welfare services and a sample of parents considered at-risk of future involvement (total studyn= 803). Direct paths from parenting stress at time 1 to barriers to participation and parenting stress at time 2, and from parenting stress at time 2 to program completion were significant. Interestingly, increased barriers to participation were related to increased parenting stress at time 2, and greater parenting stress was related to increased program completion. Results suggest that with increasing levels of parenting stress, parents have an increased likelihood of completing the program. Assessing and addressing the influence of perceived barriers and parenting stress on program participation may decrease the likelihood of treatment attrition.
The death of a loved one, particularly a parent, has been identified as not only the most common, but also the most distressing form of adversity youth may experience in their lifetime. Surviving caregivers' communication with their children may play a critical role in shaping bereaved children’s psychological functioning. However, few studies have examined the specific content (e.g., word usage) of caregivers' verbal communication as a predictor of psychological functioning in bereaved youth. In a sample of 39 parentally-bereaved children and their surviving caregivers, we investigated whether the frequency of caregivers' use of positive emotion words (e.g., “love”, “happy”, “hope”) during a reminiscing task about the deceased was associated with children’s psychological functioning and coping. In a cross-sectional analysis, we specifically examined whether these associations were moderated by the amount of time passed since children lost their parents. The Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count Program (LIWC) was used to code and evaluate the percentage of positive emotion words caregivers used during the discussion. When caregivers used more positive emotion words, children were less likely to experience depression, anxiety, and avoidant coping. Those associations were present for children who had experienced parental loss at least 105 days prior to the study. Our findings have implications for how caregivers can support their children and help to alleviate psychological distress in the aftermath of parental loss.