Developmental trajectories of adolescent internalizing symptoms and parental responses to distress

Jason D. Jones, R. Chris Fraley, Jessica A. Stern, Carl W. Lejuez, Jude Cassidy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Parents' responses to their children's negative emotions are a central aspect of emotion socialization that have well-established associations with the development of psychopathology. Yet research is lacking on potential bidirectional associations between parental responses and youth symptoms that may unfold over time. Further, additional research is needed on sociocultural factors that may be related to the trajectories of these constructs. In this study, we examined associations between trajectories of parental responses to negative emotions and adolescent internalizing symptoms and the potential role of youth sex and racial identity. Adolescents and caregivers (N = 256) completed six assessments that spanned adolescent ages 13-18 years. Multivariate growth models revealed that adolescents with higher internalizing symptoms at baseline experienced increasingly non-supportive parental responses over time (punitive and distress responses). By contrast, parental responses did not predict initial levels of or changes in internalizing symptoms. Parents of Black youth reported higher minimization and emotion-focused responses and lower distress responses compared to parents of White youth. We found minimal evidence for sex differences in parental responses. Internalizing symptoms in early adolescence had enduring effects on parental responses to distress, suggesting that adolescents may play an active role in shaping their emotion socialization developmental context.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalDevelopment and psychopathology
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


  • Adolescence
  • internalizing symptoms
  • longitudinal
  • parental responses to negative emotions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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