Parentification, stress, and problem behavior of adolescents who have a parent with mental health problems
Number of pages
SourceFamily Process, 56, 1, (2017), pp. 141-153
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ BSI OGG
SW OZ BSI KLP
SubjectExperimental Psychopathology and Treatment
When adolescents live with a parent with mental illness, they often partly take over the parental role. Little is known about the consequences of this so-called parentification on the adolescents' internalizing and externalizing problems. This survey study examined this effect cross-sectionally and longitudinally in a sample of 118 adolescents living with a parent suffering from mental health problems. In addition, the study examined a possible indirect effect via perceived stress. Path analyses were used to examine the direct associations between parentification and problem behavior as well as the indirect relations via perceived stress. The results showed that parentification was associated with both internalizing and externalizing problems cross-sectionally, but it predicted only internalizing problems 1 year later. An indirect effect of parentification on adolescent internalizing and externalizing problems via perceived stress was found, albeit only cross-sectionally. These findings imply that parentification can be stressful for adolescents who live with a parent with mental health problems, and that a greater awareness of parentification is needed to prevent adolescents from developing internalizing problems.
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