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Long-term effect of positive family life
Enjoying a positive family life during teen years could be connected to the relationship those adolescents experience when they reach adulthood. This is according to fresh research by Psychological Scientist Robert Ackerman and colleagues from the University of Texas at Dallas, who looked into whether positive interpersonal behaviours in families also have long-term associations with future partnerships.
The researchers examined data from the 451 families that participated in the Iowa Youth and Families Project.
Family interactions were examined when the teenage participants were in 7th grade and interactions were coded for positive indicators such as effective communication, warmth support and listener responsiveness.
Greater levels of positive engagement at home in adolescence predicted more relationship satisfaction for both partners, as well as better engagement in marriages 17 years later.
"Perhaps one of the most striking results from this work was that the quality of one marital partner’s family climate during adolescence was associated with marital outcomes for the other partner," the researchers stated.
Chartered Psychologist Dr Fiona Starr adds:
"This study that looks at the positive aspects of adolescence and family functioning – a refreshing and rare shift away from the usual negative themes of adolescent self harm, depression and distress. Although the findings of this study are somewhat unsurprising, it is good to have ‘common sense’ theory backed up by quantifiable results.
"The conclusions also fit in with so many other studies in the fields of child development and family therapy. I would like to see some follow-up studies, perhaps qualitative, to look at how adolescents actually experienced the five indicators of positive engagement and how these indicators construct their narratives around their own lives and relationships."
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