Translational research on parenting of adolescents: Linking theory to valid observation measures for family centered prevention and treatment

Transl Behav Med. 2016 Mar;6(1):90-104. doi: 10.1007/s13142-015-0375-3.


Parental monitoring and family problem solving are key parenting practices targeted in evidence-based interventions targeting adolescents and families, yet the constructs have yet to be validated across ethnic groups. The study's objective was to promote translational research by evaluating convergent, discriminant, and predictive validity of the two constructs at age 16-17 years through the use of multiple observation indicators and methods and as a function of ethnic status. Videotaped parent-adolescent family interactions were coded for monitoring and problem solving in a sample of 714 European American (EA; 59.2 %) and African American (AA; 40.8 %) males (53.8 %) and females (46.2 %). Structural equation models established convergent and discriminant validity of parental monitoring and problem solving among parent, youth, and observation measures for AA and EA families. Low levels of parent monitoring was highly predictive of antisocial behavior in EA and in AA youths (p < 0.001) and moderately predicted future drug use (p < 0.001) for both groups at age 18-19. Poorer family problem solving was also moderately predictive of antisocial behavior (p < 0.001 for EA; p < 0.05 for AA) and drug use (p < 0.01 for EA; p < 0.05 for AA) at age 18-19. These findings suggest that interventions targeting parental monitoring and family problem solving can be reliably evaluated through various measurement methods and that such interventions are of value in efforts to prevent and treat problem behavior in adolescence. These family processes are readily observable in videotaped family interaction tasks in both EA and AA families.

Keywords: Ethnicity; Observations/video coding; Parental monitoring; Problem behaviors; Problem solving.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / ethnology
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / prevention & control*
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / psychology
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder / therapy
  • Family / psychology
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Parent-Child Relations*
  • Parenting / psychology*
  • Problem Solving
  • Substance-Related Disorders / ethnology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • Substance-Related Disorders / therapy
  • Translational Research, Biomedical / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult