Couple relationship matters: direct and indirect effect of inter-parental relationship on adolescent mental health

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Couple relationship matters: direct and indirect effect of inter-parental relationship on adolescent mental health

 

Author: Fok, Hung Kit
Title: Couple relationship matters: direct and indirect effect of inter-parental relationship on adolescent mental health
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2014
Subject: Parent and teenager.
Teenagers -- Mental health.
Adolescent psychology.
Marriage.
Husband and wife.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Applied Social Sciences
Pages: xi, 494 pages : illustrations
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2813683
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/8029
Abstract: Based on the family ecological perspective, this study investigated the relationships amongst inter-parental relationship (i.e., inter-parental conflict intensity and non-conflict related attributes), parenting processes (i.e., parenting styles and practices) and adolescent mental health (i.e., hopelessness, life satisfaction, and positive youth development) in a Chinese context. This study consisted of two parts. The first part was scale development and validation. In this part, a scale assessing adolescent perceived non-conflict related attributes was developed and validated. The second part is the main study where a cross-sectional survey design was employed. A total of 2,007 self-administered questionnaires based on convenience sampling were collected from 20 secondary schools in Hong Kong. The participants were Secondary 1 (Grade 7) to Secondary 4 (Grade 10) students, with a mean age of 13.75 (SD=1.16). In the validation study, a scale of adolescent perceived non-conflict related attributes was developed after thorough literature review and focus group interviews were conducted. The developed measure was found to be reliable and valid in term of internal consistency, test-retest reliability, criterion-related validity and construct validity. In the main study, results showed that inter-parental conflict intensity was positively correlated with hopelessness but negatively correlated with life satisfaction and positive youth development whereas non-conflict related attributes was negatively correlated with hopelessness but positively with life satisfaction and positive youth development. Regression analyses showed that inter-parental relationship and parenting processes were predictors of adolescent mental health. Analyses based on structural equation modeling showed that perceived conflict intensity influenced adolescent mental health indirectly via parental concern, behavioral control and psychological control whereas non-conflict related attributes had both direct and indirect effects on adolescent mental health. The mediators included parental concern, behavioral control and psychological control as well as maternal control defined by indigenous Chinese concepts. Theoretically, the findings of this study suggest that inter-parental relationship and parenting processes are important building block in the model of adolescent mental health. The model underscores the impacts of multiple family processes on various aspects of adolescent mental health. Practically, inter-parental conflict intensity, non-conflict related, parenting styles, and parenting practices with reference to the family ecological framework are important processes for promoting various aspects of adolescent mental health. Implications for policy development and social service delivery are also highlighted. The limitations of the study are discussed and recommendations for future study are suggested.

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