Perceptions of the Family Environment and Youth Behaviors: Alcohol-Abusing Runaway Adolescents and Their Primary Caretakers.

Research suggests family disturbance is highly correlated to adolescents running away from home. However, given methodological challenges, few studies assess parent report of the family situation and instead, rely primarily on adolescent self-report. This article reports the findings of parents' and runaway adolescents' reports on several behavioral dimensions. Substance-using runaway adolescents completed measures about their family environment and adolescent problem behaviors. Of 119 adolescents, 49 of their parents also completed measures at intake. Adolescents perceived a more negative family environment than did their parents, and parents rated their youth as having more externalizing problems than did the youth themselves. Findings are consonant with prior research showing a relationship betwen parental distress and child problems. Contrary to prior findings, this sample of parents did not report significant alcohol use, and there was no relationship betwen their use and their child's use. Implications for future research and family therapy are discussed. (abstract from the document)

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The Family Journal