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Funded Research

Parent Socialization and School Engagement as a Mechanism of Resilience for Adolescent Development

Adolescent substance abuse and delinquency adversely affect both individual health outcomes and the US economy. Extensive research has focused on a deficit model of identifying risk factors to formulate the trajectory of youth into problem behaviors but has rarely taken a strengths-based approach capitalizing on the resiliency of youth and addressing the protective factors that may buffer youth from engaging in problem behaviors. Given that substance use and delinquency often take root during adolescence, understanding the link between these problem behaviors and their school and family contexts and, more specifically, school engagement and parent socialization, is critical for prevention and intervention efforts. Research into these critical contexts of adolescent development could identify important intervention points and targets that will promote positive youth development and simultaneously reduce risk behaviors. Using the Maryland Adolescent Development in Context Study (MADICS), a multi-wave longitudinal study of school and family influences on psychological and behavioral development, this study seeks to understand whether school engagement and parent socialization buffer youth at risk for problem behaviors and whether parent socialization influences youth problem behavior directly and indirectly through student engagement in school. The study will use the Self-System model, a motivational framework grounded in Self-Determination theory that emphasizes person-context interactions and the match between contextual characteristics and individual psychological needs. Specifically, this project will (Aim 1) identify trajectories of problem behaviors from ages 12 to 18, (Aim 2) examine the extent to which youth problem behavior varies as a function of (a) gender, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status, (b) parent socialization, and (c) school engagement, (Aim 3) investigate whether the link between parent socialization and youth problem behavior is mediated by adolescent school engagement, and (Aim4) create wave-specific profiles of parent socialization and school engagement and examine their relation to youth problem behaviors by using pattern-centered approaches (e.g., latent class analysis).


Health and Human Services, Department of-National Institutes of Health

Funding Period:

08/15/2012 to 08/16/2012