Graduation Year

2011

Document Type

Ed. Specalist

Degree

Ed.S.

Degree Granting Department

Psychological and Social Foundations

Major Professor

Shannon Suldo

Keywords

drug use, family stress, interparental conflict, major life events, positive psychology, subjective well-being

Abstract

Current literature suggests that family stressors are positively related to adolescent psychopathology; however, few studies have examined the relationship between family stressors and positive indicators of mental health, such as life satisfaction. Additionally, past literature has found support for life satisfaction as a mediating variable between environmental experiences (i.e., parent-child relationships, major life events) and adolescent psychopathology. Research questions answered in the current study pertain to: (a) the relationship between family stressors (i.e., socio-economic status, family structure, major life events, interparental conflict) and adolescents' life satisfaction, (b) the overall contribution of family stressors to life satisfaction and which stressors are most strongly associated with life satisfaction, and (c) whether life satisfaction mediates the relationship between family stressors and substance use. To answer these questions, self-report surveys from 183 middle school students were analyzed. Results indicate that experiencing major life events and interparental conflict were unique predictors of life satisfaction, and all the family stressors combined accounted for 37% of the variance in life satisfaction. Additionally, the relationship between these two family stressors and substance use was shown to be mediated by life satisfaction. Implications for school psychologists and future directions are discussed.

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