Observing Change Over Time in Strength-Based Parenting and Subjective Wellbeing for Pre-teens and Teens

Frontiers in Psychology 10:436077 (2019)
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The focus of this study was on adolescent mental health. More specifically, the relationship between strength-based parenting (SBP) and subjective wellbeing (SWB) during adolescence, as assessed by a sample of adolescents, was examined at three time points over 14 months (N = 202, Mage = 12.97, SDage =.91, 48% female). SBP was positively related to life satisfaction and positive affect at each of the three time points, and was negatively related to negative affect. SBP and SWB both declined significantly over time. When examining the causal relationships between SBP and SWB, two different statistical models were applied: latent growth-curve models (LGM) and random-intercept cross-lagged panel models (RI-CLPM). The LGM revealed a strong positive relationship between changes in SBP and SWB. Specifically, this model showed that SBP at one time point predicted adolescent SWB at future time points. However, when the more stringent statistical test was completed through RI-CLPMs, no cross-lagged paths reached significance. Thus, while parenting is a significant predictor of wellbeing for pre-teens and teens in real time, it is not predictive of wellbeing at future time points. Parents, thus, cannot assume that their current levels of SBP are ‘banked’ by their children to support future wellbeing. Instead, SBP needs to be an ongoing, contemporary parenting practice. Furthermore, the fact that perceptions of SBP decline in this age bracket suggest that SBP interventions may be helpful in supporting adolescent mental health.



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