Summary / Abstract

Title: Communication patterns and alliances between parents and adolescents during a structured problem-solvingtask

Synopsis: The influence of gender on communication patterns and reciprocal alliances was observed within thecontext of a controlled problem-solving task. Participants included 20 adolescent boys and 20 adolescent girls with their parents.The study found that families with boys engaged in more active bargaining than families with girls. Sons made offers for alliancesto mothers at almost twice the rate of daughters. Also, adolescent gender may influence communication between mothers and fathers.Mothers seem particularly influenced by the gender of their adolescent, and adolescents appear to be influenced by whether they areinteracting with their mother or father. adolescent, mothers, daughters, alliances, families, father, sons, adolescent gender, communication patterns, parents, influence, problem solving, Jory, girls, boys, problem solving task, family members, adolescent ego development, Professionals, Amy Freeborn, Jeanne Thibo Karns, Ellen Rainbolt, Brian Jory, seating arrangement, positive correlation, expressions, limitation, identity exploration, understanding, negotiation,

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journal adolescence 1996 19 339 346 communication patterns alliances parents adolescents structured problem solving task brian jory ellen rainbolt jeanne thibo karns amy freeborn cassandra v greer influence gender communication patterns reciprocal alliances observed context controlled problem solving task participants 20 adolescent boys 20 adolescent girls parents study found families boys engaged active bargaining families girls sons made offers alliances mothers twice rate daughters adolescent gender influence communication mothers fathers mothers influenced gender adolescent adolescents appear influenced interacting mother father 1996 association professionals services adolescents introduction current theories tend view adolescent development family environment renegotiation expansion parent child relationship renegotiation adolescent remains connected important family members seeks redefine relationships concomitant increasing sense unique competent self dreams desires different parental expectations grotevant cooper 1985 youniss smollar 1985 normal adolescent identity marked interactive exchange adolescents parents seek balance conflict alliance balance important implications studies problem behavior adolescents premature pregnancy olson worobey 1984 townsend worobey 1987 eating disorders pike rodin 1991 girls delinquency girls curtis 1991 boys borduin et al 1985 suggest adolescents benefit supportive parental relationship higher risk encountering problems adolescents families supportive relationships maintained studies examined relationship family interaction adolescent ego development powers et al 1983 found support mother father positively associated adolescent ego development study hauser et al 1987 investigated gender differences communication families adolescents reprint requests correspondence addressed b jory phd department family consumer sciences 123 university nebraska lincoln nebraska 68583 0801 u brian jory phd assistant professor family therapy family science ellen rainbolt m marriage family therapist jeanne thibo karns phd assistant professor child development amy freeborn m research assistant department family consumer science university nebraska lincoln cassandra v greer phd practicing therapist st charles missouri 0140 1971 96 04033908 18 00 0 1996 association professionals services adolescents 340 b jory et al found fathers cognitively enabling mothers cognitively constraining distracting study found adolescent girls boys spoke fathers engaged problem solving accepting speeches fathers flint 1992 studied affinity seeking strategies adolescents parents affinity seeking defined different ways young people get parents feel positive p 418 study found mothers targets older adolescents boys girls mutual trust behaviors consisted revealing discussing problems choosing policy truthfulness fathers targets adolescents politeness strategies consisted conversational rule keeping concession control grotevant cooper 1985 conducted study family communication processes adolescent identity exploration types family communication expressions separateness permeability mutuality study found communication processes different effects identity exploration adolescent daughters adolescent sons mothers expressions permeability negative correlation sons daughters expressions separateness correlated daughters fathers expressions separateness showed positive correlation daughters correlation sons fathers mutuality showed positive correlation sons correlation daughters sons expressions permeability fathers positive correlation identity exploration daughters expressions mutuality directed mothers showed negative correlation taken group studies demonstrates gender adolescents parents influences style substance communication adolescents parents focus studies peripherally gender influences actually talks family problem solving setting purpose current study observe influence gender talks observe exchanges environment family unit predicted gender adolescent parental gender influence communication patterns alliances adolescent parent dyad predicted gender adolescent influence communication patterns alliances parents method sample families contacted letter random sampling rolls eleventh grade students suburban high school midwest letter sent 280 families solicited participation study families play board games offered volunteer family 15 participation final sample consisted 40 families first 20 families adolescent daughter responded first 20 families adolescent son adolescents 17 years old purposes study family consisted three individuals mother father adolescent course parents children study family daughter stepfather parents adolescents related birth adoption determined parental occupation families middle class study clinical 341 communication patterns populations families screened phone ensure participants currently recently treatment psychological emotional problems procedure family scheduled 90 minute appointment arrival research site asked sit adjacent chairs half hexagonal table seating arrangement allowed participants viewed single video camera family free choose arrangement father mother teen three adjacent chairs seating arrangements chosen families shown table 1 based sat center seat procedure presented form game rules read uniformly verbatim family participants opportunity ask questions answered rereading pertinent sections rules questions research purpose strategies answered session procedure designed engage three participants reciprocal negotiation problematic moderately stressful situation precise instructions read participants obtained contacting principal investigator procedure variation mixed motive situation adapted family research jory 1982 mixed motive situation stimulates cooperative alliances participants stimulating competition conflict procedure asked family bargain division 100 points six rounds understanding form contracts sake illustration father daughter decided make contract bargain split 100 points negotiation three possible outcomes contract contract two family members three contract family members purposes study contract viewed alliance two individuals suggestion request negotiate contract viewed offer contract video tapes procedure family transcribed analysed motion sensitive analyser video player equipped frame frame jog shuttle two raters coded contract offer noting made offer offer made offer contract expressed form suggestion request demand form contract offers embedded flow family conversation verbal statements family idiosyncratic language interpreted statement coded offer raters agreed offer made completed contracts formally recorded procedure signaled end negotiations round agreement reached results data family combined six rounds procedure control possible learning fatigue effect offers alliance participant coded type alliance father mother father adolescent mother father mother adolescent adolescent father adolescent mother three alliances family members t test comparisons performed families sons families daughters 342 b jory et al son mother father 18 20 16 15 18 daughter mother father 13 20 23 15 20 9 14 figure 1 ratio offers alliance family member adolescent gender frequency offers two alliances mothers fathers significantly mothers daughters mothers sons t 226 2 028 p 0 05 offers alliances mothers greater sons daughters t 203 2 15 p 0 05 combined frequency offers adolescent parent greater sons daughters t 210 1 97 p 0 05 figure 1 comparisons offers two alliances families sons families daughters nonsignificant table 2 table 1 center seating position family members adolescent gender family center seat type father mother adolescent son 3 10 7 daughter 2 5 11 table 2 frequency alliance offers family members alliance families sons families daughters n 20 n 18 m d m d father mother 0 34 0 628 0 39 0 667 mother father 0 30 0 602 0 16 0 435 father adolescent 0 32 0 607 0 25 0 495 adolescent father 0 43 0 729 0 32 0 638 mother adolescent 0 38 0 610 0 32 0 560 adolescent mother 0 38 0 686 0 21 0 433 father total 0 66 1 04 0 67 0 980 mother total 0 68 0 943 0 48 0 779 adolescent total 0 80 1 192 0 54 0 802 frequencies offers calculated 18 families daughters due videotape failure t test p 0 05 343 communication patterns son mother father 28 44 28 daughter mother father 29 36 35 figure 2 ratio two alliances family pair adolescent gender total offers alliances family members greater fathers daughters fathers sons mothers sons mothers daughters sons made total offers alliance parent daughters table 3 total offers alliances family member family type daughter son tested anova general linear models procedure f 1 226 3 76 p 0 05 trend found types alliances formed gender adolescent c 2 2 n 240 4 62 p 0 10 families daughters engaged rounds play alliances formed families sons frequencies two alliances approximately equal adolescent gender groups three alliances rare families sons participated three alliances families daughters table 4 additional trend found relationship two alliances parent gender adolescent gender c 2 2 n 161 3 7 p 0 10 fathers daughters formed twoway alliances fathers sons mothers sons formed two alliances mothers daughters fathers mothers formed approximately equal two alliances types families figure 2 table 3 mean frequency percentage total family member offers alliance adolescent gender family type father mother adolescent sons 79 31 82 32 96 38 daughters 69 38 52 29 58 33 frequencies offers calculated 18 families daughters due videotape failure anova p 0 05 table 4 frequency percent total outcomes adolescent gender problem solving task family 2 3 type alliance alliance alliance sons 29 22 83 69 11 9 daughters 35 29 81 68 4 3 c 2 p 0 10 344 b jory et al discussion study finds patterns communication family problem solving appear influenced gender adolescents parents adolescent sons active negotiators adolescent daughters sons made offers mothers twice rate daughters mothers addition parental communication influenced gender adolescent mothers made lower ratio offers husbands families daughters families sons trends completed alliances suggest families daughters likely negotiate alliances families sons son families likely negotiate three alliances family groups formed two alliances approximately rate considered light lower number offers made families daughters families sons formed two alliances rate alliances preceded considerably offers rejected offers noted analysis alliance outcomes limited procedure round problem solving subject five outcomes problemsolving natural family settings involve additional family members individuals present wider range possibilities fathers study appeared relatively unaffected adolescent gender analysis detect mean number offers made fathers different daughters sons likewise mean number offers made husbands wives influenced gender adolescent understanding implications findings role mothers pivotal mothers interested alliances sons husbands lesser degree interested alliances daughters husbands interest equally reciprocated sons daughters sons reciprocated offers alliances equal partners mothers alliances daughters mothers typically formed request mother daughter daughters appeared active negotiators mothers daughters random mothers offers daughters high ratio mothers offers husbands markedly low compared son families fact daughters rejected high percentage offers mothers favor alliance alliance father finding complemented observation made researchers significant number daughters made disparaging remarks mothers thought alliance turn stomach daddy formed contract i am prettier needless say mothers targets statements appeared hurt embarrassed types disparaging comments observed son families future studies method consider benefits seating participants equidistant hexagonal table study limited single camera half table artificially created center seat families allowed self select seating arrangement appears far random see table 1 fathers sat outside seldom center seat adolescent mother son families slightly mothers seated center position sons hand daughter families daughter center position majority families study 345 communication patterns contained insufficient data allow multi variate analysis effect seating adolescent gender communication patterns opinion seating arrangement appears spurious variable interaction better understood analysis offers alliances results study subject limitations first gender differences explained nature experimental procedure task designed stimulate negotiation possible males females react differently demand terms motivations communication style measured study different demand task modify observed communication patterns alliances second limitation families observed natural setting families actively invested research task unknown families react actual problems overwhelming majority families indicated interviews procedure communication patterns reflect typical behaviors third limitation involves criteria inclusion study adolescents required 17 years old attempt made assess developmental age observed differences attributed varying rates adolescent development boys girls age 17 fourth limitation involves small number families study benefit rigorous control experimental procedure coupled labor intensive coding process research outweighs limitation results tend support theory offered steinberg 1987 differences four possible dyadic relationships mother son mother daughter father son father daughter addition results expand steinberg work differences fifth relationship mother father depending gender adolescent involved interaction steinberg understanding interaction dyadic relationship necessarily lead understanding dyadic relationships family environment studies seek explain gender effects pivotal role mother plays alliances effects adolescent gender marital alliance acknowledgements study partially funded institute 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