Translational research on parenting of adolescents: Linking theory to valid observation measures for family centered prevention and treatment
Parental monitoring and family problem solving are key parenting practices targeted in evidence-based interventions targeting adolescents and families, yet the constructs have yet to be validated across ethnic groups. The study’s objective was to promote translational research by evaluating convergent, discriminant, and predictive validity of the two constructs at age 16–17 years through the use of multiple observation indicators and methods and as a function of ethnic status. Videotaped parent–adolescent family interactions were coded for monitoring and problem solving in a sample of 714 European American (EA; 59.2 %) and African American (AA; 40.8 %) males (53.8 %) and females (46.2 %). Structural equation models established convergent and discriminant validity of parental monitoring and problem solving among parent, youth, and observation measures for AA and EA families. Low levels of parent monitoring was highly predictive of antisocial behavior in EA and in AA youths (p < 0.001) and moderately predicted future drug use (p < 0.001) for both groups at age 18–19. Poorer family problem solving was also moderately predictive of antisocial behavior (p < 0.001 for EA; p < 0.05 for AA) and drug use (p < 0.01 for EA; p < 0.05 for AA) at age 18–19. These findings suggest that interventions targeting parental monitoring and family problem solving can be reliably evaluated through various measurement methods and that such interventions are of value in efforts to prevent and treat problem behavior in adolescence. These family processes are readily observable in videotaped family interaction tasks in both EA and AA families.
KeywordsParental monitoring Problem solving Problem behaviors Observations/video coding Ethnicity
This project was supported by grant DA07031 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to Thomas Dishion and by a minority supplement to Georgina Parra Morris under grant DA016110 funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse to Thomas Dishion. The funders had no role in the design of the study, analyses, or interpretation of the findings. We acknowledge the contribution of the Project Alliance staff, Portland public schools, and the participating youths and families. Cheryl Mikkola is appreciated for editorial support on this manuscript.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
All authors declare they have no conflict of interest.
Adherence to ethical principles
All procedures, including informed consent, were in accordance with the ethical standards of APA and the human subjects review board of the University of Oregon.
- 1.Henggeler SW, Schaeffer C. Treating serious antisocial behavior using multisystemic therapy. In: Weisz JR, Kazdin AE, eds. Evidence-based psychotherapies for children and adolescents. New York: Guilford; 2010: 259-276.Google Scholar
- 2.Liddle HA. Treating adolescent substance abuse using multidimensional family therapy. In: Weisz JR, Kazdin AE, eds. Evidence-Based Psychotherapies for Children and Adolescents. 2nd ed. New York: Guilford Press; 2010.Google Scholar
- 3.Waldron HB, Brody JL. Functional family therapy for adolescent substance use disorders. In: Weisz JR, Kazdin AE, eds. Evidence-based psychotherapies for children and adolescents. New York, NY: Guilford Press; 2010: 401-415.Google Scholar
- 6.Patterson GR. A social learning approach: III. Coercive family process. Eugene: Castalia; 1982.Google Scholar
- 7.Patterson GR, Reid JB, Dishion TJ. Antisocial Boys. Eugene: Castalia; 1992.Google Scholar
- 11.Dishion TJ, Bullock BM, Kiesner J. Vicissitudes of parenting adolescents: daily variations in parental monitoring and the early emergence of drug use. In: Kerr M, Stattin H, Engels RCME, eds. What can parents do? New insights into the role of parents in adolescent problem behavior. Chichester: Wiley; 2008: 113-133.Google Scholar
- 15.Beauchaine TP, Beach SRH. Taxometrics and relational processes: relevance and challenges for the next nosology of mental disorders. In: Beach SRH, Wamboldt MZ, Kaslow NJ, Heyman RE, First MB, Underwood LG, Reiss D, eds. Relational processes and DSM-V: neuroscience, assessment, prevention, and treatment. Arlington: American Psychiatric Association; 2006: 123-137.Google Scholar
- 17.Forgatch MS, Patterson GR. Parent management training—Oregon model: an intervention for antisocial behavior in children and adolescents. In: Weisz JR, Kazdin AE, eds. Evidence-based psychotherapies for children and adolescents. New York: Guilford Press; 2010: 159-178.Google Scholar
- 19.Forgatch MS, Patterson GR. Parents and adolescents living together: part 2. Family problem-solving. Eugene: Castalia; 1989.Google Scholar
- 31.Dishion TJ, Peterson J, Winter CE, Jabson JM & Hogansen JM. Family Assessment Task Coder Impressions. Unpublished manuscript, University of Oregon, Child and Family Center; 2007.Google Scholar
- 32.Child and Family Center. (2001). CFC Youth Questionnaire (CFCQC). Unpublished Instrument, Child and Family Center, 6217 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403.Google Scholar
- 33.Oregon Social Learning Center. Problem Solving Rating (PROB). Unpublished instrument, available from Child and Family Center, 6217 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403; 1997.Google Scholar
- 34.Achenbach TM, Rescorla LA. Manual for the ASEBA Adult Form & Profiles. Burlington: University of Vermont, Research Center for Children, Youth, & Families; 2003.Google Scholar
- 36.Cohen J. Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences. 2nd ed. Hillsdale: Erlbaum; 1988.Google Scholar
- 38.Kline RB. Principles and practice of structural equation modeling. 2nd ed. New York: Guilford Press; 2005.Google Scholar
- 39.Schermelleh-Engel K, Moosbrugger H, Müller H. Evaluating the fit of structural equation models: tests of significance and descriptive goodness-of-fit measures. Methods Psychol Res. 2003; 8(2): 23-74.Google Scholar
- 40.McLoyd VC, Steinberg L. Studying minority adolescents: conceptual, methodological, and theoretical issues. Mahwah: lawrence erlbaum; 1998.Google Scholar
- 42.Dishion TJ, Granic I. Naturalistic observation of relationship processes. In: Haynes SN, Heiby EM, Haynes SN, Heiby EM, eds. Comprehensive handbook of psychological assessment, vol 3. Behavioral assessment. Hoboken: Wiley; 2004: 143-161.Google Scholar
- 43.Child and Family Center. CFC Parent Questionnaire. Unpublished instrument, Child and Family Center, 6217 University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403; 2001.Google Scholar