Mothers' and Adolescents' Perceptions of Family Environment and Adolescent Social-Emotional Functioning

Wendy Cavendish, Marjorie Montague, Craig Enders, Samantha Dietz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Research has emphasized the importance of the relationship between family functioning and adolescent behavioral development. The present study examines family environment and social-emotional functioning of primarily minority adolescents, viewed from both adolescents' and mothers' perspectives. Participants were a school-based sample of adolescents with and without risk for emotional and behavioral disabilities and their mothers (N = 86 dyads). Results suggested an association between the mothers' views of their adolescent children's problem behaviors and the adolescents' self-ratings of risk-taking behaviors across 5 years. Overall, mothers of the at risk youth receiving special education services reported higher ratings of youth problem behaviors, but results also indicated that mothers of the at risk adolescent boys not receiving special education services perceived greater depressive symptoms in their children and more family conflict in their homes. Mothers of youth at risk but not receiving special education services experienced higher levels of stress associated with being a parent than mothers of the not-at-risk adolescents. The parent measures of adolescent behavior and depressive symptoms, family conflict, and parental stress were not predictive of the social-emotional functioning of these adolescents in the multilevel models. Implications of these findings for early identification and family focused intervention programs are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)52-66
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • Adolescent behavior problems
  • Family environment
  • Parent perceptions
  • Parenting stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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