PhD defence Stefanos Mastrotheodoros
Development and Transformation: Parenting, Parent-Adolescent Relationships, and Family Dynamics Across Adolescence
During adolescence, many changes happen in parenting and parent-adolescent relationships. Because adolescence is the period during which young people become adults, the hierarchical parent-adolescent relationship transforms to a more egalitarian one. This transformation pushes both adolescents and parents for adaptations in how they relate to each other. In his dissertation, Stefanos aimed to answer two broad research questions. First, how do parenting and parent-adolescent relationships develop throughout adolescence? Second, how does marital conflict affect parenting and parent-adolescent conflict throughout adolescence?
The articles in Stefanos’ dissertation showed that parents and adolescents perceive parenting and parent-adolescent relationships differently. In addition, the differences in their perceptions (the so-called parent-adolescent discrepancies) develop throughout adolescence, and such discrepancies can be a sign of the transforming parent-adolescent relationship.
Also, the studies in this dissertation showed that there are significant and strong negative between-family correlations between marital conflict, on the one hand, and parenting and parent-adolescent relationships on the other hand. That is, families in which parents have more intense marital conflicts and more destructive ways to resolve marital conflicts tend to also be the families in which parenting, and parent-adolescent relationships are suboptimal. However, these between-family correlations did not correspond to within-family processes. That is, whether annual or daily fluctuations shook the marital dyad’s equilibrium was unrelated to concurrent or ensuing fluctuations in parenting and parent-adolescent conflict. This pattern goes against the spillover hypothesis, one of the most popular hypotheses in family psychology, a hypothesis that posits that marital conflict will negatively affect parenting and parent-adolescent conflict.
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