Marital Quality, Parent-Adolescent Relations, and Adolescent Depressive Symptoms Among Military Families
Howard, Samantha Ann (author)
Lucier-Greer, Mallory (professor directing thesis)
Holtrop, Kendal N. (committee member)
McWey, Lenore M. (committee member)
Florida State University (degree granting institution)
College of Human Sciences (degree granting college)
Department of Family and Child Sciences (degree granting department)
Although active duty military families continue to be a strong presence in American culture, few family-level studies have been conducted that examine military family systems, processes, and outcomes for individuals who are connected to an active duty member. Using family systems theory as a guiding framework, this study utilized a multi-informant approach to explore the relationships between marital quality, parent-adolescent interactions, and adolescent depressive symptoms among a sample of military families with an active duty father. Based on the spillover hypothesis, this study expected to find that the level of marital quality reported by the active duty father and the mother would directly influence their adolescent’s depressive symptoms. It was also expected that the mechanism that links parental marital quality and adolescent depressive symptoms would be the interactions that characterize the parent-adolescent relationship, specifically the warmth and hostility that the parents display in the context of the parent-adolescent relationship. Participant families (N = 236) were recruited from a large military installation in the continental United States using flyers throughout the installation, radio and print advertisements, and advertisements in the youth centers on the installation. Participants completed online surveys and each variable was measured using standardized scales. This study examined marital quality using both adult participants’ responses to the Adapted Marital Quality Scale. To measure warmth and hostility displayed in the parent-adolescent relationship, adolescents’ responses to the Interaction Behavior Questionnaire were used. Finally, the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale for Children was used to assess the adolescents’ depressive symptoms. Correlations between variables were explored to inform the inclusion of control variables in the subsequent models. Then, a regression analysis was conducted and a path model was fit to examine the relationships between the variables and how well the model fit the data. Results of the regression analysis revealed that the direct relationship between marital quality and adolescent depressive symptoms was significant for the mother, but not the father. The path model demonstrated good model fit. Findings suggest that there was a significant relationship between the marital quality of the mother (but not the father) and the warmth she displayed in the parent-adolescent relationship. Furthermore, there was a significant relationship between the marital quality of the father and the mother and the hostility that he or she displayed in the parent-adolescent relationship. There was also a significant relationship between the warmth displayed by the mother (but not the father) in the parent-adolescent relationship and adolescent depressive symptoms. Additionally, there was a significant relationship between the hostility shown by the active duty father (but not the mother) in the parent-adolescent relationship and the depressive symptoms displayed by the adolescent. The warmth that the mother (but not the father) displayed in the mother-adolescent relationship was a significant mediator between the independent and dependent variable, marital quality and adolescent depressive symptoms. Finally, the hostility that both the father and the mother displayed in the parent-adolescent relationship was a significant mediator between the independent and dependent variables, marital quality and adolescent depressive symptoms. Findings indicated that the marital quality of parents in military families influenced adolescent depressive symptoms indirectly through the parent-adolescent relationship. The marital quality manifested in different ways for the mother and father. Maternal marital quality influenced the warmth displayed by the mother in the parent-adolescent relationship, and paternal marital quality influenced the hostility displayed by the father in the parent-adolescent relationship. Applications for clinicians, family life educators, and policy were discussed.
adolescent, family, marital, military, parent-adolescent
June 27, 2016.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Family and Child Sciences in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science.
Includes bibliographical references.
Mallory Lucier-Greer, Professor Directing Thesis; Kendal Holtrop, Committee Member; Lenore McWey, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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