Longitudinal Relations Between Adolescent and Parental Behaviors, Parental Knowledge, and Internalizing Behaviors Among Urban Adolescents

Rachel C. Garthe, Terri Sullivan, Wendy Kliewer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


High prevalence rates of depression and anxiety among adolescents underscore the importance of identifying parental and adolescent behaviors that may lessen the risk for these outcomes. Previous research has shown that parental acceptance, parental knowledge, and child disclosure are negatively associated with internalizing behaviors. It is also important to explore the impact of internalizing behaviors on these parental and child constructs. The current study examined longitudinal relationships between parental acceptance, parental knowledge, child disclosure, and internalizing symptoms across a one-year time period. Participants were 358 adolescents (54 % female) and their primary caregivers, who were primarily African American (92 %). Parents and adolescents provided data through face-to-face interviews. Results showed that parental knowledge and parental acceptance predicted child disclosure, and child disclosure predicted parental knowledge one year later. Higher levels of parental acceptance predicted lower levels of adolescent-reported depressive symptoms, while higher levels of parental report of adolescents’ internalizing symptoms predicted lower levels of parental knowledge. No differences in the strength of these relationships were found across grade or gender. These findings highlight the role of the adolescent’s perceived acceptance by parents in promoting children’s disclosure, and the benefits of parental acceptance in decreasing depressive symptoms over time. Overall, these results show the impact that both adolescent and parental behaviors and internalizing behaviors have on each other across time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)819-832
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of youth and adolescence
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Child disclosure
  • Internalizing outcomes
  • Parental acceptance
  • Parental knowledge
  • Parental monitoring
  • Parent–child relationship

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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