Interparental Interactions and Adolescent Mood: A Daily Diary Approach


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

The literature assessing relations between interparental functioning and youth adjustment is extensive. Most of this literature used a between subjects approach and examines youth responses to conflict reported by parents. The current study used a daily diary approach to complement the existing literature by assessing relations between aspects of marital interactions and adolescent reported daily mood using a within-family approach. We hypothesized that parents’ emotionality during interactions, the severity of their marital conflicts, and the degree to which their conflicts were resolved would be associated with their adolescents’ daily moods. To test these hypotheses a diverse sample (N = 86; 27% Black, 33% White, 26% Hispanic, and 14% another race or families members differed in race) of mothers, fathers, and adolescents drawn from the Supporting Healthy Marriage project completed 15 days of daily diaries. Multilevel modeling results suggested differential associations between mother and father reports of their own emotions during interactions, conflict severity, and conflict resolution and adolescents’ daily moods. Overall, there were more significant results indicating fathers’ compared to mothers’ associations with adolescents’ daily moods, providing support for the need to continue efforts to engage fathers in family strengthening programs.

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