Adolescent Risk, Parent-child Relations, And Emerging Adult Adjustment: A Longitudinal Investigation Of Resiliency

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Child and Family Studies


Ambika Krishnakumar

Second Advisor

Mary Ann Middlemiss


emerging adulthood;parent child relations;resiliency;structure equation modeling


The current study uses a life-course resiliency perspective to investigate the impact of adolescent adversity on emerging adult adjustment in a nationally representative dataset, the National Survey of Families and Households (n = 911). The aim of the current study is to investigate the impact of the quality of parent-emerging adult relationships on resiliency in emerging adulthood when the emerging adult was at risk during adolescence and the impact of emerging adults' agency on the relationship between the quality of parent-emerging adult relationships and emerging adulthood personal competence and health promoting behaviors. Structure Equation Modeling (SEM) was used to construct models that depict three protective factors of the parent-emerging adult relationship as mediators in the relationship between adversity and emerging adults' health promoting behaviors and competence. Emerging adults' agency was then tested as the mediator through which the parent-emerging adult relationship promotes positive adjustment during emerging adulthood. Three types of adolescent risk impacted emerging adulthood adjustment; individual level risk, family socio-demographic risk, and relationship discord. Results indicate that the parent-emerging adult relationship and emerging adults' agency does mediate the adverse impact that adolescent risk has on emerging adult adjustment. There is a need to promote strong bonds between mothers, fathers and their children well past adolescence, as emerging adults continue to draw personal strength from parental acceptance and loving non-hostile parent-child interactions. Increased personal strength increases perceptions of competency and engagement in health promoting behaviors despite earlier experiences of adversity.


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