Unraveling the ties that bind: Affective expression and perceived conflict in parent adolescent interactions

Daniel J. Flannery, Raymond Montemayor, Mary Eberly, Julie Torquati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


The purpose of this observational study was (1) to examine the process of parent-adolescent relationship change across puberty, and (2) to examine the relationship between affective expression in interactions and perceived relationship conflict. Data were collected on 85 intact families with adolescents in grades 5 to 9 (n = 44 males, 41 females). Each parent and adolescent took part in two 8-minute conversations one about an activity they reported enjoying together and one about a disagreement or area of conflict. Conversations were coded by speaker turn for positive, negative, neutral, mixed, and altered affect (kappa =.76). Regression analyses indicated that parents and adolescents expressed more negative and less positive affect in interactions as adolescents physically matured. In addition, adolescents’ perceptions of relationship conflict were consistently related to parents’ expressed emotions in interactions and paralleled trends for positive and negative affect across puberty. Findings are discussed in terms of understanding of the process of transforming parent-adolescent relations and family communication patterns across puberty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)495-509
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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