A longitudinal study of the relations of family factors to adolescent psychological symptoms, coping resources, school behavior, and substance abuse

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The relationship between family environment and adjustment in early adolescents was examined in this paper. Over two consecutive years, 378 adolescents in Hong Kong responded to objective scales assessing their family environment (including measures of specific parenting behavior, global parenting styles, parent-adolescent conflict, and family functioning), general psychological symptoms, coping resources (sense of hope, life satisfaction, self-esteem and purpose in life), school behavior (perceived academic performance and conduct), actual academic performance (grades in Chinese, English, and Mathematics) and substance abuse (smoking and psychotropic substance abuse). The participants' subjective perceptions of the family atmosphere, parent-adolescent relationship, and parent-adolescent communication were also assessed via structured interviews. Results showed that family factors based on questionnaire and interview data were concurrently related to adolescent psychological symptoms, coping resources, school behavior and substance abuse at Time 1 and Time 2. Longitudinal and prospective analyses (Time 1 predictors predicting Time 2 criterion variables) based on bivariate, partial, and canonical correlation analyses similarly show that adolescents who perceived the family environment to be more positive at Time 1: (a) displayed lower levels of psychological symptoms and substance abuse behavior; (b) had higher levels of coping resources; (c) had more positive perceptions of school behavior; and (d) showed better academic performance at Time 2.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-184
Number of pages30
JournalInternational Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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