Marital problems, maternal gatekeeping attitudes, and father-child relationships in adolescence

Matthew M. Stevenson, William Fabricius, Jeffrey T. Cookston, Ross D. Parke, Scott Coltrane, Sanford L. Braver, Delia Saenz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations

Abstract

We evaluated maternal gatekeeping attitudes as a mediator of the relation between marital problems and father- child relationships in 3 waves when children were in Grades 7-10. We assessed each parent's contribution to the marital problems experienced by the couple. Findings from mediational and crosslagged structural equation models revealed that increased marital problem behaviors on the part of mothers at Wave 1 predicted increased maternal gatekeeping attitudes at Wave 2, which in turn predicted decreased amounts of father-adolescent interaction at Wave 3. Decreased amounts of interaction with either parent were associated within each wave with adolescents' perceptions that they mattered less to that parent. Amount of interaction with fathers at Wave 2 positively predicted changes in boys' perceptions of how much they mattered to their fathers at Wave 3, and amount of interaction with mothers at Wave 2 positively predicted changes in girls' perceptions of how much they mattered to their mothers at Wave 3. The findings did not differ for European American versus Mexican American families or for biological fathers versus step-fathers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1208-1218
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Volume50
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2014

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Father-child relationships
  • Marital problem behavior
  • Maternal gatekeeping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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