Two days later: Adolescents' conflicts with family spill over to school, vice versa

October 23, 2014

The lives of adolescents at home and at school may seem quite separate, but recent research has highlighted important connections. Family conflict and problems at school tend to occur together on the same day and sometimes even spill over in both directions to the next day, with family conflict increasing the likelihood of problems at school and vice versa. Now a new study has found that conflicts at home spill over to school and school problems influence problems at home up to two days later, and that negative mood and psychological symptoms are important factors in the process.

The study, by researchers at the University of Southern California, appears in the journal Child Development.

The kinds of problems that spill over from home and school include arguments between teens and their parents, doing poorly on a quiz or test, cutting class, having difficulty understanding coursework, and not finishing assignments.

"Spillover processes have been recognized but are not well understood," according to Adela C. Timmons, a doctoral student, and Gayla Margolin, professor of psychology, both at the University of Southern California, who conducted the study. "Evidence of spillover for as long as two days suggests that some teens get caught in a reverberating cycle of negative events."

The study also found that teens' negative mood might be a way that problems are transmitted across areas (for example, failing a test might lead to irritability, which in turn could lead to conflict with parents). In addition, mental health symptoms may put adolescents at risk for intensified spillover. Teens with more symptoms of anxiety and depression showed stronger associations between conflict with parents and same-day negative mood.

To capture the day-to-day variability in adolescents' experiences of family conflict and school problems, more than a hundred 13- to 17-year-olds and their mothers and fathers completed questions at the end of each day for 14 days. The families represented a range of races and ethnicities, and a range of incomes. All three family members reported on family conflict during the day that was ending, and teens also reported on their mood and their school experiences on the same day. Adolescents also completed one-time questionnaires of symptoms associated with depression, anxiety, and externalizing problems.

The findings of this study can inform interventions to help teens better handle their negative moods and to improve teens' relationships with family as well as how they do academically.
-end-
This study was funded by the National Science Foundation, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the Lucile Packard Foundation.

Summarized from Child Development, Family Conflict, Mood, and Adolescents' Daily School Problems: Moderating Roles of Internalizing and Externalizing Symptoms by Timmons, AC, and Margolin, G (University of Southern California). Copyright 2014 The Society for Research in Child Development, Inc. All rights reserved.

Society for Research in Child Development

Related Depression Articles from Brightsurf:

Children with social anxiety, maternal history of depression more likely to develop depression
Although researchers have known for decades that depression runs in families, new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York, suggests that children suffering from social anxiety may be at particular risk for depression in the future.

Depression and use of marijuana among US adults
This study examined the association of depression with cannabis use among US adults and the trends for this association from 2005 to 2016.

Maternal depression increases odds of depression in offspring, study shows
Depression in mothers during and after pregnancy increased the odds of depression in offspring during adolescence and adulthood by 70%.

Targeting depression: Researchers ID symptom-specific targets for treatment of depression
For the first time, physician-scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have identified two clusters of depressive symptoms that responded to two distinct neuroanatomical treatment targets in patients who underwent transcranial magnetic brain stimulation (TMS) for treatment of depression.

A biological mechanism for depression
Researchers report that in depressed individuals there are increased amounts of an unmodified structural protein, called tubulin, in lipid rafts compared with non-depressed individuals.

Depression in adults who are overweight or obese
In an analysis of primary care records of 519,513 UK adults who were overweight or obese between 2000-2016 and followed up until 2019, the incidence of new cases of depression was 92 per 10,000 people per year.

Why stress doesn't always cause depression
Rats susceptible to anhedonia, a core symptom of depression, possess more serotonin neurons after being exposed to chronic stress, but the effect can be reversed through amygdala activation, according to new research in JNeurosci.

Which comes first: Smartphone dependency or depression?
New research suggests a person's reliance on his or her smartphone predicts greater loneliness and depressive symptoms, as opposed to the other way around.

Depression breakthrough
Major depressive disorder -- referred to colloquially as the 'black dog' -- has been identified as a genetic cause for 20 distinct diseases, providing vital information to help detect and manage high rates of physical illnesses in people diagnosed with depression.

CPAP provides relief from depression
Researchers have found that continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can improve depression symptoms in patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases.

Read More: Depression News and Depression Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.