Publications by Year: 1996
This study examined the link between hostile conflict in families with adolescents and adolescents' efforts to establish autonomy and relatedness in interactions with parents in both normal and psychiatrically impaired groups. Longitudinal, observational data were obtained by coding family interaction tasks involving 53 adolescents and their two parents at age 14 and age 16 years. Measures were obtained for hostile adolescent-parent conflict, hostile marital conflict, and indices of adolescents' success or difficultly in establishing autonomy and relatedness in interactions with parents. Relative increases in adolescent-parent hostile conflict from age 14 to 16 years were predicted by adolescents' behaviors actively undermining autonomy in disagreements with parents at age 14 years. Hostile marital conflict observed by the adolescent at age 14 years predicted adolescent withdrawal from the hostile parent over time, a prediction that was not mediated by observed parenting behaviors. Difficulties in establishing autonomy and relatedness were linked to prior history of psychiatric difficulty. A developmental view of conflict as both reflecting and predicting difficulties in adolescents' establishing autonomy and relatedness in interactions with parents is proposed.