The authors tested the hypothesis that parental support provides a social context that moderates the effects of parent-adolescent conflict on adolescent problem behavior. They also examined the possible potentiating effects of a family risk factor, paternal alcoholism, on parent-adolescent conflict. Cross-sectional and prospective analyses of 269 adolescents and their parents showed that parent-adolescent conflict was more highly related to adolescent problem behavior when parental support was low than when support was high. Parent-adolescent conflict was related to problem behavior for adolescent children of alcoholics, but not for children of nonalcoholic parents. These findings support the contention that the effects of parent-adolescent conflict need to be understood within the context of other interpersonal and family background characteristics.
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