Early adolescent decision making and behavioral adjustment

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Early adolescent decision making and behavioral adjustment

Transcript Of Early adolescent decision making and behavioral adjustment

Louisiana State University
LSU Digital Commons

LSU Master's Theses

Graduate School

2007
Early adolescent decision making and behavioral adjustment: are associations moderated by relationship quality?
Matthew Donald Marrero Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College

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Recommended Citation Marrero, Matthew Donald, "Early adolescent decision making and behavioral adjustment: are associations moderated by relationship quality?" (2007). LSU Master's Theses. 2407. https://digitalcommons.lsu.edu/gradschool_theses/2407
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EARLY ADOLESCENT DECISION MAKING AND BEHAVIORAL ADJUSTMENT: ARE ASSOCIATIONS MODERATED BY RELATIONSHIP QUALITY?
A Thesis Submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the
Louisiana State University and Agricultural and Mechanical College
in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Science in
The School of Human Ecology
by Matthew D. Marrero B.S., University of New Orleans, Louisiana, 2004
December 2007

AKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to thank Professor Robert Laird for furthering my education through his guidance and wisdom as well as the opportunity to work on the Baton Rouge Families and Teens Project. Special thanks for the committee members on this project. Thanks to Dr. DiCarlo for the immense amount of help with this project, especially the editing. Thanks to Dr. Marks for his time and words of wisdom.
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Acknowledgements .............................................................................................................ii
Abstract ...............................................................................................................................v
1. Introduction.....................................................................................................................1 1.1 Adolescence ..............................................................................................................1 1.2 Statement of Problem................................................................................................1 1.3 Hypotheses and Research Question..........................................................................2 1.4 Delimitations .............................................................................................................3 1.5 Assumptions..............................................................................................................3 1.6 Definitions.................................................................................................................3
2. Review of Literature .......................................................................................................4 2.1 Overview...................................................................................................................4 2.2 Autonomy Theory and Operationalization ...............................................................4 2.3 Adolescent Decision Making and Behavioral Adjustment.......................................7 2.4 Parent-Child Relationship Quality ...........................................................................11 2.5 Conceptualization and Statistical Approaches to Testing Moderation ....................14
3. Method ...........................................................................................................................17 3.1 Participants...............................................................................................................17 3.2 Procedure .................................................................................................................17 3.3 Early Adolescent Decision Making Measure...........................................................18 3.4 Parent-Child Relationship Quality Measures...........................................................18 3.5 Early Adolescent Behavioral Adjustment Measures ...............................................19 3.6 Analysis of Data .......................................................................................................20 3.7 Bivariate Associations..............................................................................................21
4. Results ............................................................................................................................23 4.1 Descriptive Statistics................................................................................................23 4.2 Correlations..............................................................................................................24 4.3 Regression Analysis.................................................................................................25
5. Discussion ......................................................................................................................30 5.1 Overview..................................................................................................................30 5.2 Limitations ...............................................................................................................32 5.3 Implications for Future Research.............................................................................33
References ..........................................................................................................................35
Appendix A: Institutional Review Board Approval ..........................................................38
Appendix B: Early Adolescent Decision Making Questionnaire ......................................41
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Appendix C: Parent-Child Relationship Quality Conflict Questionnaire..........................42 Appendix D: Parent-child Relationship Quality Acceptance Questionnaire .....................43 Appendix E: Behavioral Adjustment Behavior Problems Questionnaire..........................44 Appendix F: Behavioral Adjustme nt Depressed Mood Questionnaire..............................46 Appendix G: Behavioral Adjustment School Performance Questionnaire........................47 Vita .....................................................................................................................................48
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ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to examine the associations between early adolescent decision making and behavioral adjustment with special interest in the interaction between parent-child relationship quality and decision making on behavioral adjustment. Associations were examined using data provided by 218 early adolescents. Girls comprised half the sample and the mean age was just over 11 years old. Main effects were consistent with previous research. Early adolescent decision making was associated with greater behavior problems and depressed mood. Parent-child relationship quality was defined as conflict and acceptance. Greater conflict was associated with poor behavioral adjustment while greater acceptance was associated with more positive behavioral adjustment. Multiple regression analysis was used to test possible interactions between early adolescent decision making and conflict and acceptance on each behavioral adjustment variable (behavior problems, depressed mood, and school performance). Consistent with previous research, neither conflict nor acceptance moderated the associations between early adolescent decision making and behavioral adjustment.
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1. INTRODUCTION 1.1 Adolescence
The transition into adolescence is a developmental period that is often marked by substantial changes in behavior including the early adolescent making more decisions about one’s self. During this period, early adolescents want to make more decisions about their behaviors, such as what clothes to wear and thus challenge parental legitimacy over decision making (Smetana, 1988). Adolescent decision making in the absence of parental guidance may have adverse consequences for the adolescent’s behavioral adjustment. 1.2 Statement of Problem
Although theorists argue that establishing autonomy and making one’s own decisions is an essential developmental task, empirical evidence is inconclusive in regard to whether greater adolescent decision making is linked to more positive behavioral adjustment (Lamborn, Dornbusch, & Steinberg, 1996). Some studies suggest more adolescent decision making is associated with poor behavioral adjustment. Beyers and Goossens (1999) reported that adolescents who experience more decision making autonomy reported lower school achievement and greater deviant behavior. In contrast, other studies have indicated that adolescent decision making is associated with positive behavioral adjustment. Smetana, Campione-Barr, and Daddis (2004) found that in late adolescence decision making over personal (i.e., what clothes to wear) and multifaceted (i.e., what TV shows to watch or music to listen to) issues predicted positive behavioral adjustment including less depression and greater feelings of self worth. One possible source of this inconsistency may be the family context within which adolescents make
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decisions. That is, a family with strong bonds may be the ideal context in which to develop healthy decision making. In one study, a family environment that was rated as high in connectedness and support, predicted more adolescent decision making (Peterson, Bush, & Supple, 1999), but the consequences of decision making in supportive versus unsupportive contexts is unknown. The current study will focus on the quality of the parent-child relationship as the context within which early adolescent decision making takes place to determine whether parent-child relationship quality moderates the association between early adolescent decision making and behavioral adjustment. 1.3 Hypotheses and Research Question
The purpose of this proposed study is to explore the link between early adolescent decision making and early adolescent behavioral adjustment. Specifically, this study aims to test potential moderating effects of the quality of the mother-child relationship on the link between early adolescent decision making and behavioral adjustment. Hypothesis 1 states that early adolescents who report more decision making will report more negative behavioral adjustment including more problem behaviors, depression, and lower school performance. Hypothesis 2 states that more conflict will be associated with more behavior problems, more depressed mood, and lower school performance. Hypothesis 3 states that more acceptance will be associated with less behavior problems, less depressed mood, and greater school performance. Hypothesis 4 states that parent-child relationship quality will interact with early adolescent decision making such that within the context of high parent-child relationships, early adolescents who report more decision making will report less problem behaviors, less depressed mood, and better school performance than their peers who report lower parent-child relationship quality.
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1.4 Delimitations The sample was recruited in south Louisiana and therefore may be difficult to
generalize to other regions of the country. Longitudinal data is needed in order to infer causal relationships. 1.5 Assumptions
There are several assumptions which guide this study: 1. It is assumed that there are no order effects occurring from the different
instruments used during the interview. 2. It is assumed that both the mother and early adolescent responses are truthful. 3. It is assumed that the constructs (i.e., Decision making, conflict, acceptance,
behavior problems, child depressed mood, and school performance) used are reliable and validly measure what they are intended to measure. 1.6 Definitions The following terms are used throughout the paper. The definitions are as follows. Early adolescent: a person between the ages 9 and 13 who has recently entered adolescence. Decision making: the ability to make one’s own decisions about one’s behaviors (Bosma, Jackson, Zijsling, Zani, Cicognani, Xerri, Honess, & Charman, 1996). Autonomy: to be self-governing. Moderation: “a third variable that affects the direction and/or strength of relation between the independent and dependent variables” (Baron & Kenney, 1986, p. 1174).
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2. REVIEW OF LITERATURE 2.1 Overview
The review of literature will be divided into four sections. The first section will discuss autonomy theory and operationalization; the second section will review empirical evidence linking decision making to adolescent behavioral adjustment; the third section will review empirical evidence connecting parent-child relationship quality to adolescent behavioral adjustment; and the final section will discuss the conceptualization of, and statistical approach to testing, moderation. 2.2 Autonomy Theory and Operationalization
Most of the research conducted on adolescent autonomy was influenced by psychoanalytic theory, which depicts autonomy development through individuation from parental ego extension and into the adolescent’s own ego formation (Blos, 1979). Individuation contains both emotional and behavioral components. The emotionally individuated adolescent can fully discriminate between self and others. Behavioral individuation refers to a sense of responsibility for one’s actions and decisions. According to Blos (1979) this process of individuation and autonomy development is an adaptive progression of adolescent development.
Following the conceptualization of Blos (1979), Steinberg and Silverberg (1986) developed the Emotional Autonomy Scale (EAS) which assessed four aspects of emotional autonomy: perceives parents as people, parental de-idealization, nondependency on parents, and individuation. The aim of Steinberg and Silverberg (1986) was to use the EAS to provide details about the development of emotional autonomy and its relations to susceptibility to peer pressure and subjective feelings of self reliance.
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AdjustmentAdolescent DecisionDecisionRelationship QualityStudy