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Family Functioning and Adolescent Psychological Maladjustment: The Mediating Role of Coping Strategies

Abstract

This study aims to analyze the mediating role of coping strategies in the relationship between family functioning and youth maladjustment. A community sample of 341 adolescents (M = 15.11 years old; SD = 1.71) completed self-report measures about such variables. Results showed that a perception of an inadequate family functioning was associated with the use of maladaptive coping strategies, as well as with youth psychological maladjustment. The results also revealed that rumination and support-seeking mediated the relationship between family functioning and internalizing behavior, and hostile expression of feelings played a mediating role between family functioning and externalizing behavior. No gender differences were found in the relationship between variables. This study emphasizes the importance of coping strategies used by adolescents to understand the relationship between family functioning and youth psychological maladjustment.

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Acknowledgments

This study was partially supported by the Research Center for Psychological Science (UID/PSI/04527/2013) from the Ministry of Science and Technology (FCT, Portugal). We would like to express our appreciation to the participating schools, families and adolescents, and to the Master’ students who contributed to data collection (A. Filipa Tavares, A. Luísa Sousa, A. Rita Lambuça, Nádia Horta, Sara I. Ferreira and Tânia Soares).

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Correspondence to Rita Francisco.

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Francisco, R., Loios, S. & Pedro, M. Family Functioning and Adolescent Psychological Maladjustment: The Mediating Role of Coping Strategies. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev 47, 759–770 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10578-015-0609-0

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Keywords

  • Family functioning
  • Coping
  • Adolescent maladjustment
  • Gender differences