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Youth behaviors that undermine family democracy: do they change the family climate as a whole?
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work. (Center for Developmental Research)
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work. (Center for Developmental Research)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7546-2275
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work. (Center for Developmental Research)
2009 (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Family democracy is considered important for many reasons, but little is known about what determines or affects it. One cross-sectional study showed that youths’ perceptions of democracy in the family are determined by their own behaviors as well as their parents’ (Persson et al., 2004).  However, only one youth per family was included in their analyses. This leaves open the possibility that youths’ behavior only had implications for their own relationships with parents. In the present study it is tested whether youths behaviors can change the democratic family as a whole. Using three waves of data from 146 same-sex sibling pairs aged ten to fifteen years at Time 1, we examined whether youths delinquency, defiance, and non-disclosure had consequences for the democratic family climate as a whole. Results showed that older siblings’ democracy-undermining behaviors (and changes in these) predicted subsequent changes in younger sibling’s perceptions of family democracy. The findings support a family systems interpretation of the democratic workings of the family as a whole in that the behavior of one youth in the family had consequences for a sibling’s perception of family democracy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009.
Keyword [en]
family democracy, youth, adolescents, longitudinal, problem behavior, decision-making, disclosure
National Category
Psychology Social Sciences Social Sciences
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-8748OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-8748DiVA: diva2:280737
Available from: 2009-12-11 Created: 2009-12-11 Last updated: 2015-02-20Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Adolescents' role in democratic "parenting"
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Adolescents' role in democratic "parenting"
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In research on family democracy there has been a tradition to focus on parents as leaders setting up the family climate. This dissertation challenged this perspective. Keeping with present day’s emphasis on bidirectionality between parents and children democratic family functioning was seen as jointly created by parents and youths. Results showed that youths behaviors and characteristics have to be taken into account if the democratic working of the family is to be fully understood. When controlling for parents’ behaviors, adolescents’ behaviors added significantly to the prediction of a democratic family climate (Study I). Within families, youths democracy compromising behaviors were found to not only have consequences for the individual child. Instead, it was found that changes in younger siblings’ perceptions of family democracy changed as a consequence of an older sibling’s earlier democracy compromising behavior (Study II). Finally, parental openness to communication, youth openness to communication, and parental bad treatment all were found to be separate components of family democracy. Also, these components of family democracy were found to be prospectively linked to adolescents’ perceptions of the democratic climate in their own families. Further, these three components could be used to identify stable family configurations which differed with respect to adolescents’ perceptions of having influence in family matters and their internal-and external adjustment as well as other aspects of the parent-child relationship (Study III). Moreover, changes over-time within families in parental openness to communication, youth openness to communication, and parental bad treatment were associated with changes in youths’ perceptions of having influence in family matters and other features of parent-child relations (Study III). On the whole, these findings lend strong support to seeing children as active agents in the democratic workings of the family and they support a family systems approach to the issue of democratic family functioning. Clearly, young people are human agents with the capacity to interpret and react to their own reality. They are certainly both the harvest and the seeds of democratic family functioning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro universitet, 2009. 62 p.
Series
Örebro Studies in Psychology, ISSN 1651-1328 ; 17
Keyword
family democracy, adolescents, bidirecetional, siblings, family system, parenting, communication
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-8737 (URN)978-91-7668-709-3 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-01-15, Hörsal L2, Örebro universitet, Örebro, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2009-12-11 Created: 2009-12-11 Last updated: 2011-04-29Bibliographically approved

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