When Do Adolescents Feel Loved? A Daily Within-Person Study of Parent–Adolescent Relations

John K. Coffey, Mengya Xia, Gregory M. Fosco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Feeling loved has many benefits, but research is limited on how daily behaviors of one person in a relationship shape why someone else feels more or less loved from day to day. The parent–adolescent relationship is a primary source of love. We expected parent-reported warmth and conflict would explain daily fluctuations in how loved adolescents reported feeling. In a sample of 151 families (adolescent MAge = 14.60; 61.6% female) over a 21-day period, we used multilevel models to disentangle within-family (daily variability) and between-family (average levels) parent-reported daily warmth and conflict in relation to adolescents’ daily reports about how loved they were feeling. Findings indicated adolescents in families with higher parent-reported warmth across days and higher adolescent-reported closeness with parents felt more loved by their parents, on average. At a within-person level, we found considerable day-to-day variability in how loved adolescents reported feeling that was partially explained by meaningful variability in both parent-reported warmth and conflict across days. On days when parents reported more warmth than usual and less conflict than usual, adolescents reported feeling more loved. Further, a significant within-day interaction indicated that the importance of days’ parent warmth was greater on high conflict days, but when parents directed more warmth toward their adolescents, the difference between high and low-conflict days was negligible.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)861-873
Number of pages13
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychology(all)


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