Longitudinal study of the relationship between family coalitions and adolescent antisocial behavior Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/th83m1525

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  • Family therapists have proposed that specific types of family interactions are dysfunctional for the family system and can produce long-term negative effects for the child. They further propose that, for healthy family functioning to be maintained, parental alliances must be sustained and excessive cross-generational coalitions (parent-child alliances) must be blocked. This fundamental assumption, proposed by family therapists, has rarely been empirically tested. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between family interactional patterns and the misconduct of adolescent males. Misconduct by the adolescent was defined by the youth having contact with the police due to delinquent behavior. Specifically, this study was concerned with determining if cross-generational coalitions, witnessed in parent-child interactions, were predictive of later antisocial behavior on the part of the adolescent while controlling for family structure, family problem solving, marital satisfaction, parental conflict, and child externality. Subjects were 68 families consisting of mother, father or stepfather, and son. The first family interaction assessment took place in 1984-1985 when the child was 9.7 years old. The second assessment of family interaction occurred two years later. Follow-up data on the adolescent's delinquent behavior, assessed through county court records, was last collected in 1991 when subjects were 15 to 16 years old. Families were paid for their participation as part of their involvement in a larger study (Capaldi & Patterson, 1987). The results of logistic and multiple regression analyses indicated no association between parent-child coalitions and occurrence or the severity of delinquent behavior. Both analyses did, however, find that family problem-solving skills and a non-intact family structure were significant predictors of later delinquency and of the severity of the delinquency by the adolescent.
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