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Published on June 16, 2007

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Slide1:  Parent-Adolescent Relationship Quality and the Development of Romantic Values Jessica K. Winkles, Joseph P. Allen University of Virginia We would like to thank the National Institute of Mental Health for funding awarded to Joseph P Allen, Principal Investigator, (Grants #R01-MH44934, AND R01-MH58066) for the conduct and write-up of this study Research on value development centers around internalization, the process by which people are socialized to acquire values and beliefs of social others and these values result in behaviors based on intrinsic characteristics and not external consequences. Prior research has found higher internalization of general values is related to parent-adolescent relationship qualities such as warmth, positive communication, and low levels of firm and psychological control (White, 2000; Knafo andamp; Schwartz, 2003). There has been minimal research on whether these relationship qualities relate to the development of values in specific domains. In the area of parent-adolescent relationships and sexuality, many studies have examined sexual behavior as an outcome, but research examining parent-adolescent relationships and romantic or sexual values is sparse. The present study examines how parent-adolescent relationship qualities predict the development of romantic values regarding appropriates ages for dating, kissing, falling in love, and sexual intercourse. This is a particularly interesting value domain to study because parents often fail to directly communicate these values to their adolescents (Rosenthal andamp; Feldman, 1999). Even if parents do make an effort to discuss romantic values, their words my be falling on deaf ears since previous research suggests adolescents reject input from their parents on exceptionally personal topics (Grusecandamp; Goodnow, 1994). Adolescent romantic values at age 13 significantly predicted values at age 14. Maternal and paternal romantic values significantly predicted more conservative adolescent values at age 14. Both maternal and paternal efforts to limit sexual behavior significantly predicted more conservative romantic values. Please refer to Table 1 for an example of a hierarchical regression Paternal communication using advice and paternal overall efforts to influence significantly predicted more conservative romantic values. Adolescent trust of his/her mother significantly predicted less conservative romantic values at age 14. In an interaction, paternal romantic values significantly predicted adolescent romantic values at age 14 when the father used high levels of psychological control. However, paternal and adolescent values were unrelated when the father used low levels of psychological control. Please refer to Figure 1. Participants 185 adolescents (96 female and 84 male adolescents) and their parents Adolescents’ values were assessed at the mean ages of 13.4 and 14.3 years 61.1% European-American, 38.9% African-American Median family income was $43, 722 Adolescents were recruited from a public middle school in the mid-Atlantic region Measures Maternal, paternal, and adolescent romantic values. Attitudes Toward Sexual Behavior: Participants report on the age they feel it is appropriate for young adolescents to engage in certain romantic behaviors. Communication. Evaluated in terms of a.) Open communication (Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment) and b.) Communication using advice (Ways Parents Influence Questionnaire). Trust. Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment: Paternal report of how much the adolescent trusts them. Firm control. Child Report of Parenting Behavior Inventory. Psychological control. Child Report of Parenting Behavior Inventory. Overall efforts to influence. Ways Parents/Peers Influence Questionnaire: Parents report on which ways and to what extent they try to influence who the adolescent is friends with, drug and alcohol use, sexual behaviors, how the adolescent treats other people, and adolescent obedience. Efforts to limit sexual behavior. Ways Parents/Peers Influence Questionnaire: Parents report on the ways and extent they try to limit the adolescent’s sexual behavior. Grusec, J.E. andamp; Goodnow, J.J. (1994). Impact of parental discipline methods on the child’s internalization of values: A reconceptualization of current points of view. Developmental Psychology, 30, 4-19. Knafo, A. andamp; Schwartz, S.H. (2003). Parenting and adolescents’ accuracy in perceiving parental values. Child Development, 74, 595-611. Rosenthal, D.A. andamp; Feldman, S.S. (1999). The importance of importance; Adolescents’ perceptions of parental communication about sexuality. Journal of Adolescence, 22, 835-851. White, F.A. (2000). Relationship of family socialization processes to adolescent moral thought. The Journal of Social Psychology, 140, 75-91. Prediction of Teen Romantic Values at Age 14 from Prior Teen and Maternal Values and Teen’s Trust of Mother Teen Romantic Values (age 14) Parent-adolescent relationship qualities and parents’ values partially explain adolescent romantic value internalization. Adolescent relationships with both mothers and fathers are important in explaining value development even though the relationships often act in different ways. Researchers should include fathers in future studies. Even though a high level of psychological control is often associated with negative outcomes, it seems to play a positive role in value internalization. Based on knowledge of prior research, the association between relationship qualities and value development appears to differ depending on the value domain. Future research should consider studying individual value domains rather than general values. Figure 1. A stronger correlation between paternal and adolescent values regarding adolescent romantic behavior is associated with a high level of paternal psychological control. Teen values are standardized. Higher numbers indicate more conservative values. The purpose of this study was to investigate the extent to which mother and father-adolescent relationship qualities account for changes in adolescent romantic values. 1.) Do adolescents’ romantic values at age 13 predict the values they will have when they are 14? It is expected that values will remain relatively stable over time and that values at age 13 will predict values at age 12 2.) Do mothers’ and fathers’ romantic values predict the development of values between ages 13 and 14? It is expected that adolescents will be socialized by their parents’ values and when adolescents are 14 years old their values will be predicted by their parents’ values 3.) Does the relationship quality between adolescents and their parents predict the development of romantic values between ages 13 and 14? It is predicted that communication, overall efforts to influence, efforts to limit sexual behaviors, and trust will predict more conservative adolescent romantic values at age 14. I expect psychological control to predict less conservative values at age 14. Firm control is likely to predict change in an unknown direction BACKGROUND PURPOSE AND HYPOTHESIS MATERIALS AND METHODS RESULTS CONCLUSIONS BIBLIOGRAPHY Note. ***p andlt; .001. **p ≤ .01. *p andlt; .05. Table 1. Maternal trust is associated with less conservative romantic values at age 14.

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