Family functioning, stress, and dimensions of adolescent psychopathology

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Herbert C. Quay - Committee Chair


This study attempted to examine the relationship of different family patterns and stressors affecting the family to the functioning of the adolescent (ages 12-16) as measured by a parent rated behavior problem checklist. A sample of 56 black, and 31 white mother-son dyads completed the Family Adaptability and Cohesion Scale (FACES III), the Family Inventory of Life Events and Changes (FILE) and the Revised Behavior Problem Checklist (RBPC). Although hypotheses regarding the family functioning associated with specific types of behavior problems were made, the subscales of the RBPC were highly intercorrelated for both samples, making it impossible to differentiate among specific behavior problems.Higher behavior problem scores in the adolescent were associated with low cohesion scores (disengaged families) in the black sample and with low adaptability scores (rigid families) in the white sample. This pattern of intercorrelation was different in the two samples when analyzed independently but not when the groups were compared with each other.In both samples, families who were categorized as extreme family types, were significantly more likely than mid-range but not balanced family types to have adolescents with higher anxiety withdrawal scores. Conduct disorder was significantly associated with extreme family types and not with balanced or mid-range family types. Stress was significantly related to behavior problems in both samples and family variables did not attenuate this relationship.


Psychology, Clinical

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