Johnson, Rebecca (2010)
Clin.Psy.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.
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It is often assumed that parents are a major influence on their children’s mental health. Research, however, has challenged this assumption and has shown that when there is a link between the generations, the direction of effect is not always or only from parent to child. The aim of the current work was to consider two questions in relation to whether parents are a relevant contributor to adolescent psychological distress. First, the relationship and direction of influence between parental psychological control and adolescent adjustment was considered in a review of literature. Second, a research study investigated whether parents and adolescents share similar irrational beliefs that underlie psychological distress. The literature review concluded that there was evidence of a link between parental psychological control and adolescent adjustment. The weight of literature also supported the idea that the direction of influence was mutual with parents and adolescents influencing each other. The research study found tentative evidence that some irrational beliefs may be transmitted from parent to child, especially self-downing beliefs from fathers to sons. If this finding is robust then it might be possible to target early intervention to young men whose fathers are psychologically distressed and hold self-downing type irrational beliefs.
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