International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 64, Issue 2, pp 209–217 | Cite as

What role do family composition and functioning play in emotional and behavioural problems among adolescent boys and girls?

  • Katerina PaclikovaEmail author
  • Zuzana Dankulincova Veselska
  • Daniela Filakovska Bobakova
  • Michaela Palfiova
  • Andrea Madarasova Geckova
Original Article



The aim was to explore the associations of family composition, family support and communication with emotional and behavioural problems among adolescents as well as a possible moderating effect of gender on these associations.


Data from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study conducted in 2014 in Slovakia were used. The final sample consisted of 2908 students (mean age 14.36; 49.7% boys). We explored the association using generalized linear models.


We found that non-intact family was significantly associated with a higher score in emotional and behavioural problems. Family support and communication were found to be significantly associated with a lower score in emotional and behavioural problems. Significant interactions of gender and family communication with emotional and behavioural problems were found, showing that family communication decreased emotional and behavioural problems only in girls.


Family composition, family support and communication play an important role in the occurrence of emotional and behavioural problems in adolescence. Family communication lowers these problems only in girls. Prevention and intervention programmes could be focused on parent–child communication strategies with the importance of differences in the needs of boys and girls.


Adolescence Family composition Family support Family communication Emotional and behavioural problems Gender 



This work was partially supported by the Research and Development Support Agency under Contract No. APVV-15-0012, by the Scientific Grant Agency of the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport of the Slovak Republic and the Slovak Academy of Sciences, reg. no. 1/0981/15 and by the Internal Grant Agency of Czech Ministry of Health (IGA_CMTF_2018_006).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in the study were in accordance with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The study was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Medical Faculty at the P. J. Safarik University in Kosice (No: 9/2012). Parents were informed about the study via the school administration and could opt out if they disagreed with their child’s participation. Participation in the study was fully voluntary and anonymous, with no explicit incentives provided for participation.


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health (SSPH+) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katerina Paclikova
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Zuzana Dankulincova Veselska
    • 1
    • 3
  • Daniela Filakovska Bobakova
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Michaela Palfiova
    • 3
  • Andrea Madarasova Geckova
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Graduate School Kosice Institute for Society and HealthPJ Safarik University in KosiceKosiceSlovak Republic
  2. 2.Olomouc University Social Health InstitutePalacky University in OlomoucOlomoucCzech Republic
  3. 3.Department of Health Psychology, Medical FacultyPJ Safarik University in KosiceKosiceSlovak Republic

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