Presentation Title

The Relation Between Childhood Family Environment and Internalizing Symptoms During Adolescence

Faculty Mentor

Michelle C. Ramos

Start Date

23-11-2019 8:45 AM

End Date

23-11-2019 9:30 AM

Location

44

Session

poster 2

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

behavioral_social_sciences

Abstract

What is the long-term relation between childhood family environment and adolescents’ internalizing symptoms? Are there differences in this relation based on gender? Examining various aspects of the family context such as how close the family is and how conflictual the family may be, can lead to further understanding of how childhood family climate influences the development of internalizing symptoms in adolescence. Previous research has shown concurrent associations between family environment and adjustment problems such as anxiety, depression, and withdrawal. The current study addresses gaps in the literature by using prospective longitudinal data from 11 waves. Data were from 130 children and their families who participated in the Fullerton Longitudinal Study (FLS) annually from ages 3 through 17. Mothers reported on family cohesion and conflict using the Family Environment Scale (FES; Moos & Moos, 1994) and their adolescents’ internalizing symptoms using the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL; Achenbach, 1991). Separate structural equation models (SEM) were tested using family cohesion and family conflict during childhood (ages 3-10) to predict youths’ internalizing symptoms during adolescence (ages 12-17). Results indicated a significant negative path (�� =-.41, p<.001) from the latent variable of family cohesion to a latent variable of internalizing symptoms. In a second SEM, results showed a significant positive(��= .32, p=.001) from family conflict to internalizing symptoms. Additional analyses will examine potential gender differences. Overall, higher levels of cohesiveness in the family during childhood predicted lower levels of anxious and depressive symptoms during adolescence; whereas higher levels of family conflict were associated with increased symptoms. These results were consistent with the original hypotheses. These findings suggest that the mother’s perspective of family climate during the early childhood and elementary school years is related to the child’s internalizing problems over a decade later. Keywords: Family conflict, family cohesion, internalizing symptoms, adolescence, family environment

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Nov 23rd, 8:45 AM Nov 23rd, 9:30 AM

The Relation Between Childhood Family Environment and Internalizing Symptoms During Adolescence

44

What is the long-term relation between childhood family environment and adolescents’ internalizing symptoms? Are there differences in this relation based on gender? Examining various aspects of the family context such as how close the family is and how conflictual the family may be, can lead to further understanding of how childhood family climate influences the development of internalizing symptoms in adolescence. Previous research has shown concurrent associations between family environment and adjustment problems such as anxiety, depression, and withdrawal. The current study addresses gaps in the literature by using prospective longitudinal data from 11 waves. Data were from 130 children and their families who participated in the Fullerton Longitudinal Study (FLS) annually from ages 3 through 17. Mothers reported on family cohesion and conflict using the Family Environment Scale (FES; Moos & Moos, 1994) and their adolescents’ internalizing symptoms using the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL; Achenbach, 1991). Separate structural equation models (SEM) were tested using family cohesion and family conflict during childhood (ages 3-10) to predict youths’ internalizing symptoms during adolescence (ages 12-17). Results indicated a significant negative path (�� =-.41, p<.001) from the latent variable of family cohesion to a latent variable of internalizing symptoms. In a second SEM, results showed a significant positive(��= .32, p=.001) from family conflict to internalizing symptoms. Additional analyses will examine potential gender differences. Overall, higher levels of cohesiveness in the family during childhood predicted lower levels of anxious and depressive symptoms during adolescence; whereas higher levels of family conflict were associated with increased symptoms. These results were consistent with the original hypotheses. These findings suggest that the mother’s perspective of family climate during the early childhood and elementary school years is related to the child’s internalizing problems over a decade later. Keywords: Family conflict, family cohesion, internalizing symptoms, adolescence, family environment