Longitudinal Links between Expressivity and African American Parent-Adolescent Relationships: A Dyadic Approach

Olivenne D. Skinner, Xiaoran Sun, Susan M. McHale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objectives: Parents’ and youth’s personality qualities are associated with parent-child relationships. Given that gender shapes the organization and structure of family life, gender typed personality qualities may also have implications for relationships between parents and children. We examined longitudinal linkages between expressivity, a gender typed personality quality, and parent-child warmth and conflict in a sample of African American families and tested if parental stress moderated these associations. Methods: Data came from mothers, fathers, and two adolescent-aged siblings (53% girls) from 185 families who participated in a three-year longitudinal study. In home interviews, parents and youth rated their own expressive qualities and perceptions of their relationship. Mothers and fathers also reported their family and work-related stress. Results: Results from Actor-Partner Interdependence Models showed that youth’s expressivity positively predicted their own and their parents’ perceptions of relationship warmth and negatively predicted their own and their parents’ perceptions of conflict. Mothers’ expressivity positively predicted their own and youth’s perceptions of warmth and fathers’ expressivity positively predicted only their own perceptions of warmth. Parents’ expressivity was unrelated to conflict. Parental stress moderated the expressivity parent-youth relationship linkages differently for mothers and fathers. Youth’s expressivity more strongly predicted maternal warmth among mothers who experienced low versus high stress. Youth’s expressivity predicted lower conflict among fathers who experienced high stress. Conclusions: Findings underscore the utility of moving beyond biological sex to examine the role of gender typed qualities in parent-child relationships during adolescence, as well as the contexts in which those processes are embedded.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)442-454
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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