The aim of the study was to determine whether there are differences in patterns of negativity between families with and without an adolescent with externalizing problem behavior. We used a structured means Social Relations Model in order to examine negativity in multiple levels of the family system. The sample consisted of 120 problematic and 153 nonproblematic families (two parents, two children), who rated the level of negativity in the relationship with each family member. Although a simple mean differences test would lead us to believe that differences in negativity between groups of families can be ascribed to the interaction between parent and adolescent, the results of the present study indicate that these differences are actually related to the characteristics of a problematic child. © 2011 American Psychological Association.