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New Research: Parent Intimacy May Reduce Adolescent Depression

What kind of study was this?

This was a longitudinal observational study, which means that the researchers didn’t intervene or conduct any experiments to change the way research participants behaved. Instead, the researchers recruited a bunch of participants to fill out questionnaires, and then researchers used statistical methods to see if there were any strong connections over time between the variables measured in the questionnaires.

What did researchers want to know?

They were interested in how intimacy between parents and adolescents affected adolescent emotional and mental health over time. It’s important to note that this study can’t answer questions around what is “affecting” what because it’s just observational. So, the researchers can only detect correlations (what tracks along with what) and can’t determine causation (what causes what). The classic example is ice cream sales and heat stroke. They’re correlated but they don’t cause each other.

What did the researchers actually do?

They recruited over 200 families with over 300 adolescents and gave the adolescents questionnaires at three different time points between the ages of 12 and 20. The questionnaires measured adolescents’ concerns about weight, symptoms of depression, self-esteem, and their level of intimacy with their parents. The latter was measured through questions about how often they went to their mom or dad for advice or shared inner feelings or secrets with them.  

What did the researchers find?

They found that intimacy between adolescents and both mothers and fathers is associated with fewer depression symptoms in early-, mid-, and late-adolescence, but the association was strongest in mid-adolescence.

What does this mean for parents and kids?

Parents can play a huge role in their teenage kids’ mental health. Working on developing an open and close relationship with your child(ren) may reduce their risk for developing depression throughout adolescence, especially in mid-adolescence (15-17 years old).

Original article:
Hochgraf, A. K., Fosco, G. M., Lanza, S. T., & McHale, S. M. (2021). Developmental timing of parent–youth intimacy as a protective factor for adolescent adjustment problems. Journal of Family Psychology, 35(7), 916–926.
https://doi.org/10.1037/fam0000864

Check out our workshop, “Thriving Through the Teen Years” to get expert-designed tools that will help you build and maintain the parent relationships you want and know are possible.

New Research: Parent Intimacy May Reduce Adolescent Depression

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New Research: Parent Intimacy May Reduce Adolescent Depression

Intimacy with both parental figures can make a difference in adolescent depression, especially during the mid-teenage years.

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Key takeaways

1

Adolescent mental health has become a growing concern for many parents

2

This study examined how adolescent-parent intimacy is associated with depression, among other mental health issues

3

Intimacy with both mothers and fathers was associated with lower depression symptoms across early-, mid-, and late-adolescence

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Reading time:

3 minutes

What kind of study was this?

This was a longitudinal observational study, which means that the researchers didn’t intervene or conduct any experiments to change the way research participants behaved. Instead, the researchers recruited a bunch of participants to fill out questionnaires, and then researchers used statistical methods to see if there were any strong connections over time between the variables measured in the questionnaires.

What did researchers want to know?

They were interested in how intimacy between parents and adolescents affected adolescent emotional and mental health over time. It’s important to note that this study can’t answer questions around what is “affecting” what because it’s just observational. So, the researchers can only detect correlations (what tracks along with what) and can’t determine causation (what causes what). The classic example is ice cream sales and heat stroke. They’re correlated but they don’t cause each other.

What did the researchers actually do?

They recruited over 200 families with over 300 adolescents and gave the adolescents questionnaires at three different time points between the ages of 12 and 20. The questionnaires measured adolescents’ concerns about weight, symptoms of depression, self-esteem, and their level of intimacy with their parents. The latter was measured through questions about how often they went to their mom or dad for advice or shared inner feelings or secrets with them.  

What did the researchers find?

They found that intimacy between adolescents and both mothers and fathers is associated with fewer depression symptoms in early-, mid-, and late-adolescence, but the association was strongest in mid-adolescence.

What does this mean for parents and kids?

Parents can play a huge role in their teenage kids’ mental health. Working on developing an open and close relationship with your child(ren) may reduce their risk for developing depression throughout adolescence, especially in mid-adolescence (15-17 years old).

Original article:
Hochgraf, A. K., Fosco, G. M., Lanza, S. T., & McHale, S. M. (2021). Developmental timing of parent–youth intimacy as a protective factor for adolescent adjustment problems. Journal of Family Psychology, 35(7), 916–926.
https://doi.org/10.1037/fam0000864

Check out our workshop, “Thriving Through the Teen Years” to get expert-designed tools that will help you build and maintain the parent relationships you want and know are possible.

What kind of study was this?

This was a longitudinal observational study, which means that the researchers didn’t intervene or conduct any experiments to change the way research participants behaved. Instead, the researchers recruited a bunch of participants to fill out questionnaires, and then researchers used statistical methods to see if there were any strong connections over time between the variables measured in the questionnaires.

What did researchers want to know?

They were interested in how intimacy between parents and adolescents affected adolescent emotional and mental health over time. It’s important to note that this study can’t answer questions around what is “affecting” what because it’s just observational. So, the researchers can only detect correlations (what tracks along with what) and can’t determine causation (what causes what). The classic example is ice cream sales and heat stroke. They’re correlated but they don’t cause each other.

What did the researchers actually do?

They recruited over 200 families with over 300 adolescents and gave the adolescents questionnaires at three different time points between the ages of 12 and 20. The questionnaires measured adolescents’ concerns about weight, symptoms of depression, self-esteem, and their level of intimacy with their parents. The latter was measured through questions about how often they went to their mom or dad for advice or shared inner feelings or secrets with them.  

What did the researchers find?

They found that intimacy between adolescents and both mothers and fathers is associated with fewer depression symptoms in early-, mid-, and late-adolescence, but the association was strongest in mid-adolescence.

What does this mean for parents and kids?

Parents can play a huge role in their teenage kids’ mental health. Working on developing an open and close relationship with your child(ren) may reduce their risk for developing depression throughout adolescence, especially in mid-adolescence (15-17 years old).

Original article:
Hochgraf, A. K., Fosco, G. M., Lanza, S. T., & McHale, S. M. (2021). Developmental timing of parent–youth intimacy as a protective factor for adolescent adjustment problems. Journal of Family Psychology, 35(7), 916–926.
https://doi.org/10.1037/fam0000864

Check out our workshop, “Thriving Through the Teen Years” to get expert-designed tools that will help you build and maintain the parent relationships you want and know are possible.

What kind of study was this?

This was a longitudinal observational study, which means that the researchers didn’t intervene or conduct any experiments to change the way research participants behaved. Instead, the researchers recruited a bunch of participants to fill out questionnaires, and then researchers used statistical methods to see if there were any strong connections over time between the variables measured in the questionnaires.

What did researchers want to know?

They were interested in how intimacy between parents and adolescents affected adolescent emotional and mental health over time. It’s important to note that this study can’t answer questions around what is “affecting” what because it’s just observational. So, the researchers can only detect correlations (what tracks along with what) and can’t determine causation (what causes what). The classic example is ice cream sales and heat stroke. They’re correlated but they don’t cause each other.

What did the researchers actually do?

They recruited over 200 families with over 300 adolescents and gave the adolescents questionnaires at three different time points between the ages of 12 and 20. The questionnaires measured adolescents’ concerns about weight, symptoms of depression, self-esteem, and their level of intimacy with their parents. The latter was measured through questions about how often they went to their mom or dad for advice or shared inner feelings or secrets with them.  

What did the researchers find?

They found that intimacy between adolescents and both mothers and fathers is associated with fewer depression symptoms in early-, mid-, and late-adolescence, but the association was strongest in mid-adolescence.

What does this mean for parents and kids?

Parents can play a huge role in their teenage kids’ mental health. Working on developing an open and close relationship with your child(ren) may reduce their risk for developing depression throughout adolescence, especially in mid-adolescence (15-17 years old).

Original article:
Hochgraf, A. K., Fosco, G. M., Lanza, S. T., & McHale, S. M. (2021). Developmental timing of parent–youth intimacy as a protective factor for adolescent adjustment problems. Journal of Family Psychology, 35(7), 916–926.
https://doi.org/10.1037/fam0000864

Check out our workshop, “Thriving Through the Teen Years” to get expert-designed tools that will help you build and maintain the parent relationships you want and know are possible.

Enjoying this article? Subscribe to the Yes Collective for more expert emotional wellness just for parents.

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