Skin conductance reactivity moderates the association between parental behavioral control and adolescent externalizing behavior
Type of DegreeMaster's Thesis
Human Development and Family Studies
MetadataShow full item record
The present study examined whether skin conductance level reactivity (SCLR) moderated the concurrent and longitudinal association between parental behavioral control and early adolescents’ externalizing behaviors. Data were collected from 80 early adolescents and their parents when they were initially in the fifth or sixth grade (T1) and then again a year later (T2). Parents reported on parental behavioral control at T1 and adolescent externalizing behaviors at T1 and T2, and adolescents self-reported on aggression at T1 and T2. At T1, adolescents’ SCLR was measured during a peer-evaluative stress task (SCLR-peer) and parent-adolescent interaction about possible peer rejection (SCLR-parent). Consistent with the literature, regression analyses revealed a cross-sectional association between higher parental behavioral control (i.e., lower permissive parenting) and lower T1 parent-reported externalizing behaviors. Also, higher SCLR-parent and SCLR-peer were associated with lower T1 adolescent-reported aggression. SCLR-parent moderated the association between parental behavioral control and parent-reported adolescent externalizing behaviors in both cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses. In cross-sectional analyses, parental behavioral control was associated with lower T1 parent-reported externalizing behaviors at lower and higher levels of SCLR, although the association was stronger at higher levels of SCLR. In longitudinal analyses, parental behavioral control did not predict T2 parent-reported externalizing behaviors at higher levels of SCLR, but predicted higher T2 parent-reported externalizing behaviors at lower levels of SCLR. Results suggest that interventions for adolescents with behavior problems may be improved by matching parenting strategies with adolescents’ attributes.