The psychological and social predictors of parent-adolescent relationships in divorced and intact families

Date of Completion

January 1991


Education, Guidance and Counseling|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies




This study investigates the nature of infrafamilial relationships and adolescent children's psychological and school functioning in divorced and in intact families. The first objective determines if parent/adolescent relationships are different in divorced homes as opposed to intact homes. The second phase of the study predicts relationships between parents and adolescents.^ Two hundred students from three high schools participated in this project. The relationships that adolescents have with both parents was measured by the Children's Report of Parental Behavior Inventory. Predictor variables for the parent/adolescent relationship categories are as follows: parental marital status, age of the adolescent, gender of the adolescent, grade point average, present marital status of the mother, number of absences from school, distance the natural father lives from the child (instate; out-of-state), frequency of contact with the father, self-concept of the adolescent, and rate of depression of the adolescent. Self-concept was assessed using the Piers-Harris Self-Concept Scale. The Reynolds Adolescent Depression Scale was used to determine level of depression for the children. Grades for the first marking period of the 1989-90 academic year were used as a measure of academic performance.^ An ANOVA was used to compare the divorced group with the intact group with respect to relationships with each parent. The results indicate that the groups differ with respect to relationship with father but not with respect to relationship with mother.^ A stepwise discriminant function analysis was used to determine the variables that discriminate between the parent/adolescent relationship categories. Variables found to predict category membership are the level of depression experienced by the adolescents and the place of residence of their fathers. Recommendations for future research are presented. ^