Understanding the link between parenting behaviors and friendship competence: socioemotional problems or attachment insecurity?

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Emily C. Cook (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Cheryl Buehler

Abstract: Parents are important socialization agents in terms of adolescents' social, emotional, and behavioral development. Yet few studies have examined the relationship between parenting behaviors and adolescents' friendship competence during adolescence. Furthermore, the generative mechanisms by which parents affect adolescents' friendship competence are not well understood. The current study examined the prospective relationship between parenting behaviors in early adolescence and adolescents' friendship competence during middle adolescence in a community-based sample of 416 two-parent families living in the Southeastern United States. Social learning theory and attachment theory were used to deduce two generative mechanisms by which parenting affected adolescents' development of friendship competence. Gender differences also were examined. Several important findings emerged. Psychological control was the only parenting behavior that was uniquely associated with friendship intimacy and conflict behaviors in adolescents' friendships. Adolescents' perceptions of attachment insecurity fully mediated the relationship between psychological control and adolescents' intimacy behaviors. These findings highlight the importance of parents' psychological control in relation to adolescents' friendship competence. Parental hostility and warmth were not uniquely associated with friendship competence, directly or indirectly. Socioemotional behaviors did not uniquely explain the relationship between parenting behaviors and friendship competence. No gender differences were found. Results supported an attachment theory perspective and indicated that adolescents' problems with intimacy promoting behaviors in friendships are largely a function of adolescents' perceptions of insecure attachment to parents that make it difficult to be supportive and satisfied in close relationships with age-mates. Results contribute to previous research by examining why parenting behaviors affect adolescents' friendship competence during a particularly sensitive period for the development of this competency.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2009
Adolescence, Attachment security, Externalizing problems, Friendships, Internalizing problems, Parenting
Friendship in adolescence $x Psychological aspects.
Parent and teenager.
Social skills $x Psychological aspects.
Adolescent psychology.
Social adjustment.
Social interaction.
Control (Psychology)

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