Self-Regulation by Adolescent Substance Users in the Context of Observed Family Interaction
AdvisorRohrbaugh, Michael J.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractPrevailing views of adolescent self-regulation (ASR) in the developmental and family psychology literatures share a common regard for this construct as a disposition or trait. An alternative contextual perspective would view self-regulation as a transaction between an individual and the relevant social context. The purpose of the current study was to examine such a perspective among substance-using adolescents and their families.Participants were 457 substance-using adolescents who had been referred for treatment at eight geographically disparate U.S. and Puerto Rico community treatment agencies. Families participated in a family interaction assessment task (FIAT) in which they planned a menu, described what pleased and displeased them about each other, and discussed a recent family argument. Later, using video recordings of these FIATs, three independent teams of observers reliably coded (a) the adolescent drug user's self-regulation in the interrelated domains of attention, behavior, emotion, and initiation; (b) specific structural family systems patterns; and (c) the overall quality of family functioning.In multiple regression analyses, structural family systems variables together explained significant variation in ASR, controlling for global family functioning and number of participating family members. ASR demonstrated significant negative associations with disengagement and conflict avoidance, and significant positive associations with parent-adolescent support role reversal, outside triangles, and parent-child triangles. The positive associations were surprising, given that those constructs represent structural anomalies historically associated with youth maladjustment. ASR ratings decreased across the three tasks, and some of the associations of structural family variables with ASR changed across tasks. With some exceptions, ASR-family variable relations were consistent across adolescent gender and ethnicity. When gender moderation was apparent, associations between ASR and structural family variables were stronger for females than for males.These findings provide support for the importance of an interpersonal context to manifestations of adolescent "self" regulation, and suggest that ASR may represent a context-based, dynamic state that is, to an extent, interpersonal in nature. These results further suggest that structural family systems theory can inform such a contextual perspective.
Degree ProgramGraduate College