The current study had three aims: (1) to explore whether there is over-time change in adolescent delinquency and negativity in the parent–adolescent, sibling and marital relationships during adolescence; (2) to examine the interactions of negativity across subsystems; and (3) to examine whether levels and changes in adolescent delinquency are predicted by levels and changes in negativity in all family subsystems. Data of 497 families participating in the RADAR-young study were used. Ratings of all family members were used to measure negativity in family relationships, and adolescent self-report was used for delinquency. Multivariate latent growth curve models showed over-time increases in mother-adolescent negativity and over-time decreases in sibling negativity, as well as significant individual differences in these changes. Second, evidence for both social contagion and compensatory processes in family negativity was found. Third, initial levels of parent–adolescent negativity were related to initial levels but not over-time changes of adolescent delinquency, whereas initial levels of sibling negativity were related to over-time changes but not initial levels of adolescent delinquency. Finally, increases in parent–adolescent negativity were related to faster increases in adolescent delinquency, and decreases in sibling negativity were related to slower increases in adolescent delinquency. Implications of these results are discussed.
- Family negativity
- multivariate latent growth curve modeling