Perceived family environment as a moderator of young adolescents' life stress adjustment

Am J Community Psychol. 1988 Feb;16(1):101-22. doi: 10.1007/BF00906074.


A longitudinal design was employed to test the main and stress-moderating effects of young adolescents' perceived family environment (Family Environment Scales; FES; Moos & Moos, 1981) on their depression, anxiety, and self-esteem. This study was part of a larger longitudinal project (L. Cohen, Burt, & Bjorck, 1987) that demonstrated the significant cross-sectional effects of the young adolescents' controllable and uncontrollable negative events, and the significant longitudinal effects of the former. The present cross-sectional analyses demonstrated the hypothesized main effects of the FES scores; families perceived as cohesive, organized, and expressive were related to positive psychological functioning, whereas families perceived as conflict-ridden and controlling were related to negative functioning. However, in general these effects were nonsignificant in the longitudinal analyses. Although there were a number of significant Negative Events x FES interactions, in no instance did the pattern support the hypothesized stress-buffering role of positive family climate.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Affective Symptoms / psychology*
  • Child
  • Child Rearing
  • Family*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Change Events*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Self Concept*
  • Social Environment