Family contexts and adolescents’ emotional status
Fausta Ongaro, Università di Padova
Silvia Meggiolaro, Università di Padova
Research has shown consistently that growing up in some non-traditional families is, in average, associated with negative consequences for children, in particular, with decreased well-being. The present study explores the effect of family structure (presence of both biological parents, step-families, single-parent families) on different measures of adolescent’s emotional status, considering whether this effect is mediated via family resources (parental socio-economic circumstances and parental health). The data come from a national representative survey, conducted in Italy in 2005.
Descriptive analyses showed that teenagers living in non-traditional families, and above all in step-families, experience lower psychological well-being, than teen living in two-biological-parent families, particularly for the mental health component.
At the multivariate level, the negative effect of non-traditional families on adolescent’s psychological well-being is significant only for step-families and only for mental health, whereas living in single-parent families has not negative effect. Parental resources (in particular, health) influence adolescents’ emotional well-being, and their effects do not mediate, where present, the family structure effects.