Communication and understanding in parent-adolescent relationships

Alan Sillars, Ascan Koerner, Mary Anne Fitzpatrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


This research examined communication and parent-adolescent understanding, including understanding about family conflicts, adolescent self-concepts, and immediate thoughts (or "empathic accuracy"). Fifty parent-adolescent triads completed questionnaires, held a discussion, and reported on immediate thoughts during the discussion using video-assisted recall methods. Alternative measures of understanding produced distinct results. Parental understanding of the child's self-concept was associated with frequent and open communication, high parent-child relationship satisfaction, and a strong child self-concept. Parental understanding of conflict perceptions was associated with high conformity and low relationship satisfaction. Parental understanding of the immediate thoughts of children was quite low overall and was not consistently related to communication, relationship satisfaction, or child self-concept. The results suggest that alternative measures of understanding reflect different family processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)102-128
Number of pages27
JournalHuman Communication Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005


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