Getting under the skin: Maternal social coaching and adolescent peer adjustment

Kelly M. Tu, Niyantri Ravindran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We investigated the independent and interactive associations between mother-reported social coaching suggestions and adolescent skin conductance level reactivity (SCLR) as predictors of teacher-reported adolescent peer adjustment across the middle school transition among 100 youth (53% boys; Mage = 11.05 years; 43% ethnic minorities). At higher SCLR, maternal engagement suggestions were associated with poorer peer adjustment, whereas self-reliant suggestions were associated with better peer adjustment among youth. Conversely, at lower SCLR, maternal engagement suggestions were associated with better peer adjustment. Higher SCLR among adolescents may reflect greater arousal and anxiety during a peer problem-solving discussion, which may be intensified by mothers' suggestions to engage with the problem, but alleviated by mothers' suggestions for adolescents to handle the challenge in their own way. In contrast, lower SCLR may reflect insensitivity to environmental challenges; thus, mothers' specific engagement suggestions may equip physiologically under-aroused adolescents with the skills to manage peer challenges, promoting peer adjustment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101091
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020



  • Early adolescence
  • Middle school transition
  • Parenting
  • Peer adjustment
  • Skin conductance level reactivity
  • Socialization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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