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Reciprocal Relations Between Parenting and Adjustment in a Sample of Juvenile Offenders


  • The project was supported by funds from the following: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, National Institute of Justice, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, William T. Grant Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, William Penn Foundation, Center for Disease Control, National Institute on Drug Abuse (R01DA019697), Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, and the Arizona Governor’s Justice Commission. We are grateful for their support. The content of this article, however, is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of these agencies.

concerning this article should be addressed to Lela Rankin Williams, School of Social Work, Arizona State University, 411 N. Central Ave., Suite 800, Phoenix, AZ 85004. Electronic mail may be sent to


The over-time reciprocal links between parenting and adolescent adjustment were examined in a sample of 1,354 serious adolescent offenders followed for 3 years (16 years of age at baseline, SD = 1.14). Parallel processing growth curve models provided independent estimates of the impact of parenting on adolescent functioning as well as the impact of adolescent functioning on parenting. Positive adolescent development was facilitated by high parental warmth and low parental hostility. Parental monitoring predicted less problematic behavior, but less positive functioning as well. Predictably, parents became warmer and less hostile in response to positive adolescent development, and less warm in response to problematic adolescent functioning. Parental monitoring declined when adolescents exhibited either positive or problematic functioning.