Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the reciprocal relationship between parent-child connectedness and depressive symptoms, self-esteem, and body satisfaction over 5 years in a diverse sample of 2516 male and female adolescents. Methods: Youth completed Project Eating Among Teens surveys at Time 1 (1998-1999) and Time 2 (2003-2004). Multiple linear regression analysis was conducted to evaluate relationships between parent-child connectedness and adolescents' emotional functioning, controlling for baseline parent-child connectedness. The reciprocal relationship was also evaluated using the same methods. Results: Parent-child connectedness was associated with increased body satisfaction for females, increased self-esteem for males, and decreased depressive symptoms for both males and females. The reciprocal relationship results showed that, among females, self-esteem was associated with increased parent-child connectedness while depressive symptoms predicted decreased parent-child connectedness. In males, body satisfaction was associated with increased parent-child connectedness. Conclusions: Parent-child connectedness and youth emotional functioning reciprocally influenced each other over the 5-year period of this study. Interventions aimed at strengthening the parent-child relationship throughout adolescence may protect emotional health and prevent longer-term emotional consequences in young adults.
- Emotional functioning
- Parent-child connectedness