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Adolescents' perceptions of the democratic functioning in their families
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work. (Center for Developmental Reserach, YES)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7546-2275
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work. (Center for Developmental Research, YES)
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work. (CDR, YES)
Örebro University, School of Law, Psychology and Social Work. (Center for Developmental Reserach, YES)
2010 (English)In: European Psychologist, ISSN 1016-9040, E-ISSN 1878-531X, Vol. 16, no 1, p. 32-42Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Democratic family functioning has traditionally been interpreted as effects of parenting, leaving little room for the child in shaping the democratic climate. Based on a bidirectional view of family relationships, we argued that families characterized by openness and fair treatment should be the families adolescents experience as democratic. It should be the same families where parents know much about their adolescents’ whereabouts outside home. We used a longitudinal study following a group of 13-15 year old adolescents (N = 527) over two years, and we combined variable- and person-oriented methods. The results using variable-oriented methods confirmed that both adolescent and parental behaviors were concurrently, prospectively, and bidirectionally linked to adolescents’ perceptions of the democratic family climate. Using person-oriented methods, we found that adolescents perceived a highly democratic family climate in families characterized by both parental and adolescent openness and parental fair treatment. Parental knowledge was also highest in these families. Over time, increases or decreases in family functioning corresponded to increases or decreases in adolescents’ perceptions of their influence in family matters and in parental knowledge. We conclude that conceptions of the democratic functioning of the family have to include the behaviors of both parents and adolescents and that mutual responsivity is a marker of the democratic family functioning.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Hogrefe & Huber Publishers, 2010. Vol. 16, no 1, p. 32-42
Keywords [en]
family democracy, adolescents, parent-adolescent relations, family system, parenting
National Category
Psychology Social Sciences Social Sciences
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-8749DOI: 10.1027/1016-9040/a000039ISI: 000287693700004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-8749DiVA, id: diva2:280749
Available from: 2009-12-11 Created: 2009-12-11 Last updated: 2017-12-12Bibliographically 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. p. 62
Series
Örebro Studies in Psychology, ISSN 1651-1328 ; 17
Keywords
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: 2017-10-18Bibliographically approved

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Stattin, HåkanPersson, StefanBurk, William J.Kerr, Margaret

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