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Poverty and InequalitySexual and Reproductive HealthFamily, Maternal & Child HealthMethodology

Parent-child relationship quality moderates the link between marital conflict and adolescents' physiological responses to social evaluative threat

TitleParent-child relationship quality moderates the link between marital conflict and adolescents' physiological responses to social evaluative threat
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsLucas-Thompson, RG, Granger, DA
JournalJ Fam Psychol
Volume28
Pagination538-48
Date PublishedAug
ISBN Number0893-3200
Accession Number25090256
Abstract

This study examined how marital conflict and parent-child relationship quality moderate individual differences in adolescents' adrenocortical and autonomic nervous system (ANS) responses to social evaluative threat. Saliva samples (later assayed for cortisol and alpha-amylase, sAA) were collected from 153 youth (52% female; ages 10-17 years) before and after, and cardiovascular activity was assessed before and during, the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST). Marital conflict predicted higher levels of sAA reactivity but lower levels of heart rate (HR) reactivity. Parent-child relationship quality moderated these associations, such that marital conflict was more strongly related to heightened sAA and dampened SBP reactivity if youth had low-quality relationships with their parents. The findings suggest a "dual-hazard" pathway with implications for biosocial models of the family, as well as theories of the social determinants of biological sensitivity/susceptibility to context.