Mother-Youth Interactions Help Adolescents Cope With Stress, Study Finds


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news 7 July feature

Mental Health News

Researchers at the University of Illinois explored the influence of mother-youth interactions on how adolescents cope with stress. The study is published in The Journal of Early Adolescence.

The Study

The researchers wanted to examine the link between the mental health of adolescents and the role of parental involvement. So, they combined measures of the youths’ biological stress response capacity with observations of mother-youth emotional climate.

They invited adolescents in the fifth grade and their mothers to participate in an experimental study. The participants were asked to spend 5 minutes talking about the adolescents’ peer problems. The adolescents also filled out questionnaires about their puberty ‘challenges’, stress response abilities, and strategies to cope with peer stressors.

The Findings

The results revealed how parents talk with their children largely influences how the latter go through the developmental changes of puberty. In fact, emotionally involved and communicative parenting is associated with healthy stress responses in the youth.

One of the lead researchers, Xiaomei Li, elaborated: “For some youth who may be biologically dispositioned to be vulnerable to stress, the mother’s positive, warm affect, and a cohesive, collaborative conversation atmosphere appear to be especially important for the development and use of active coping.

Therefore, the researchers recommended that parents should create a positive and supportive environment for children to talk about their problems. In this way, parents can ensure the emotional and mental well-being of their children.

To Know More You May Refer To

Li, X., Tu, K. M., & McElwain, N. L. (2022). Interactive Contribution of Observed Mother-Youth Emotional Climate and Youth Physiology: A Biopsychosocial Approach to Understanding Youth Coping With Peer Stress. The Journal of Early Adolescence. https://doi.org/10.1177/02724316221096079

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