Research has historically under-emphasized adolescent contributions to family functioning. In this study, we examined how adolescents’ day-to-day challenges in school — such as having problems with peers or teachers — may filter into family life, across family-level, mother–adolescent, and interparental relations. This study used daily diary data collected from 130 mother–adolescent dyads from two-caregiver households over a three-week period. Multilevel modeling was used to disentangle within- and between-family effects of adolescents’ school day challenges (adolescent reports) for family functioning on the same day (mother reports). Adolescent gender was tested as a moderator of these effects. Findings indicated that adolescents’ school day challenges were linked to family functioning. Between-family analyses indicated that adolescents with more school day challenges had poorer family functioning in each of the three domains. Additionally, several within-family associations were statistically significant. On days when adolescents experienced more challenges at school than usual, mothers reported increased conflict with their adolescents, diminished parenting practices, and less positive interactions with their partners. In addition, adolescent gender moderated an effect. On days when boys experienced more challenges at school than usual, mothers reported decreased family cohesion; these results did not hold for girls. Overall, the results highlight the value of considering how adolescents’ experiences out of the home may impact family life. Links between adolescent daily experiences and family relations provide important insights into family processes for family researchers and practitioners.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Life-span and Life-course Studies