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Marital Satisfaction and the Development of Autonomy and Close Friendships in Early Adolescence

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Title: Marital Satisfaction and the Development of Autonomy and Close Friendships in Early Adolescence


1
Marital Satisfaction and the Development of
Autonomy and Close Friendships in Early
Adolescence
  • Jessica R. Meyer
  • L. Wrenn Thompson
  • Kathleen Boykin McElhaney
  • Joseph P. Allen
  • University of Virginia
  • Copies of Todays Talk Related Research will be
    available at
  • www.teenresearch.org

2
The Early Adolescents Transition from Parent-
to Peer- Orientation
  • Formation of peer relationships is an important
    developmental task
  • By early adolescence, children perceive friends
    as supportive as parents
  • By mid-adolescence, perceive friends as most
    frequent providers of support (Furman
    Buhrmester, 1992)
  • Lack of social competence linked to psychosocial
    impairment (McGhee Williams, 1991)
  • Autonomy from parents linked to
  • fewer psychological problems (Cooper et al.,
    1983 Grotevant Cooper, 1985)
  • higher ego development (Allen et al., 1994)
  • more work orientation better academic
    performance (Allen et al., 1994)

3
What Predicts Successful Autonomy from Parents
and Development of Close Friendships?
  • Child Rearing (Ladd, 1992)
  • Parent-Child Interaction Styles (Putallaz
    Heflin, 1990)
  • Parent-Child Relationship Quality (Fauber et al.,
    1990)
  • Influence of Marital Relationship?

4
Research Questions
  • Does Marital Satisfaction Predict
  • Teens Autonomy with Parents?
  • The Development of Teens Friendship Quality?
  • Is the Relationship between Marital Satisfaction
    and Teens Autonomy and Friendship Quality
    Mediated by the Parent-Child Relationship (i.e.
    attachment with parents)?

5
Methodology
  • 184 Adolescents, their Mothers, Best Friends
  • Assessed Annually, Beginning at Age 13
  • Community-based Sample from Small Urban Area
  • Equal numbers of Males Females
  • Socio-Economically Diverse (Median Family Income
    40,000-60,000 range)
  • 31 African-American 69 European American

6
Measure Marital Satisfaction
  • Dyadic Adjustment Scale (Spanier, 1976)
  • Marital Satisfaction Subscale
  • Mothers Self-Report
  • 10 items
  • How often do you discuss or have you considered
    divorce, separation, or termination of your
    relationship?
  • Do you confide in your mate?
  • Do you kiss your mate?
  • How happy are you in your relationship?

7
Measure Observed Adolescent Autonomy with
Parents
  • Autonomy and Relatedness Coding System (Allen et
    al., 1996)
  • 10-minute videotaped interactions between
    adolescents their mothers
  • Discussion of disagreement identified by
    adolescents
  • Autonomous behavior based on adolescents
    expressions of
  • Reasoned arguments
  • Confidence in arguments

8
Measures Adolescents Development of Close
Friendships
  • Supportive Behavior Task (Allen et al.,2003)
  • 6-minute videotaped interactions between
    adolescents and best friends
  • Discussion of adolescents problem
  • Intimacy Factor consists of
  • Scale 1 Expressions of emotional support
  • Scale 2 Expressions of self-disclosure
  • Scale 3 Expressions of talk about others

9
Measures Adolescents Development of Close
Friendships, continued
  • Interpersonal Competence Questionnaire (ICQ)
    (Buhrmester, 1994)
  • Best Friend Report about Target Teen
  • 8-item factor of Emotional Support
  • How Good is ____ at
  • Showing that he/she really cares when someone
    talks about problems?
  • Helping people work through their thoughts
    feelings about important decisions?
  • Inventory of Peer and Parent Attachment (IPPA)
    (Armsden Greenburg, 1989)
  • Teen Report about Relationship with Friend
  • 10-item factor of Mutual Trust
  • She listens to what I have to say
  • She is fairly easy to talk to

10
Measure Parent/Child Relationship
  • Inventory of Peer and Parent Attachment (IPPA)
    (Armsden Greenburg, 1989)
  • Teens Report of Dyadic Trust
  • Teens Report of Attachment with Mother
  • Supportive Behavior Task (Allen et al.,2003)
  • Observed Intimacy between Mother Teen
  • Observed Warmth between Mother Teen

11
Results Predicting Observed Autonomy with
Mothers from Marital Satisfaction
  • Step 1. ß ?R2 Total R2
  • Gender (1M 2F) .07
  • Age .05
  • Income .31
  • .10 .10
  • Step 2.
  • Marital Satisfaction .21 .03 .13
  • Teens whose mothers reported more marital
    satisfaction are more likely to demonstrate
    higher levels of autonomy with their mothers.

12
Results Predicting Observed Intimacy with Peers
at Age 14 from Marital Satisfaction
  • Step 1. ß ?R2 Total R2
  • Intimacy at Age 13 .28
  • .08 .08
  • Step 2.
  • Gender (1M 2F) .35
  • Age .01
  • Income -.01
  • .11 .19
  • Step 3.
  • Marital Satisfaction .21 .08 .27
  • Teens whose mothers reported more marital
    satisfaction
  • displayed relative increases in intimacy with
    their best friends over the following year.

13
Results Predicting Best Friends Report of Teen
Emotional Support at Age 14 from Marital
Satisfaction
  • Step 1. ß ?R2 Total R2
  • Emotional Support at Age 13 .22
  • .05 .05
  • Step 2.
  • Gender (1M 2F) .24
  • Age -.19
  • Income .06
  • .09 .14
  • Step 3.
  • Marital Satisfaction .19 .10 .24
  • Teens whose mothers reported more marital
    satisfaction
  • demonstrated relative increases in emotional
    support with their
  • friends over the following year.

14
Results Predicting Teen Report of Trust with
Friends at Age 14 from Marital Satisfaction
  • Step 1. ß ?R2 Total R2
  • Trust at Age 13 .49
  • .24 .24
  • Step 2.
  • Gender (1M 2F) .13
  • Age .02
  • Income -.12
  • .03 .27
  • Step 3.
  • Marital Satisfaction .19 .03 .30
  • Teens whose mothers reported more marital
    satisfaction
  • reported relative increases in mutual trust with
    their friends over the following year.

15
Conclusions
  • Qualities of the Couple Relationship have
    important links to
  • Adolescent Autonomy with Parents
  • Development of Adolescent Friendships
  • In this study, the link between marital
    satisfaction the development of adolescent
    autonomy and friendships is not explained by the
    parent-child relationship
  • Acknowledgements We would like to thank the
    National Institute of Mental Health for funding
  • awarded to Joseph P. Allen, Principal
    Investigator, (Grants R01-MH44934, and
    R01-MH58066) to
  • conduct and write-up this project.
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