The Relation of Family Support to Adolescents’ Psychological Distress and Behavior Problems

  • Manuel BarreraJr.
  • Susan A. Li
Chapter
Part of the The Springer Series on Stress and Coping book series (SSSO)

Abstract

Adolescence is a developmental period that presents special considerations in the study of socially supportive relationships within the family. Perhaps the most significant consideration concerns the growing influence of peers in the lives of adolescents (Petersen & Hamburg, 1986). Puberty, sexuality, and the emergence of romantic involvements add important dimensions to adolescent peer relationships (Brooks-Gunn, 1991; Steinberg, 1981). Also, some have asserted that adolescence, particularly late adolescence, is a time in which autonomy needs are more pronounced than needs for dependence on parents (see White, Speisman, & Costos, 1983). In some cases, adolescents might adopt strategies for the development of autonomy that include less reliance on the support of family members and greater self-reliance or reliance on peers. We might question, then, the role of supportive relationships with parents and other family members during this developmental period in which autonomy and the emergence of peer relationships appear to be so influential. Comparisons to peer relationships are potentially valuable perspectives for understanding the role of parents and families in providing social support and for understanding the impact of these provisions. While the focus of this chapter is on family support during adolescence, one of our special interests in conducting this review was to contrast the contributions of adolescents’ supportive relationships with peers and those of relationships with family members.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Manuel BarreraJr.
    • 1
  • Susan A. Li
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyArizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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