Although high levels of anger and low levels of parental agreement are generally associated with poor adolescent functioning, this may not always be the case. In particular, from the child's perspective, when one parent is angry on a large number of issues, parental agreement may be dysfunctional because the second parent is unavailable to buffer the stress produced by the first parent. When the level of parental anger about parent–child issues is low, higher levels of parental agreement may serve to clarify for the child which issues are important. Seventy boys and 77 girls indicated the extent and level of anger with which each of 44 issues was discussed with each parent. Teachers' ratings, school records, and self-reported depression were organized into a set of internalizing problems, externalizing problems, and role performance. For boys, but not for girls, the predicted interaction of perceived parental anger and perceived parental agreement was significant on measures from each class of dependent variables: When anger by one parent was high, adolescent functioning was better if parental agreement was low; however, when anger by one parent was low, adolescent functioning was better if parental agreement was high. The results are discussed in terms of the gender difference and their relationship to the social support and buffering hypothesis.
Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology – Guilford Press
Published: Jun 1, 1991
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