Beyond the "Self" in Self-Regulation: Family Interaction Modulates Situational Self-Control by Adolescent Drug Users

Bonita Sur, Audrey Cleary, Michael J. Rohrbaugh, Emilio Ferrer, David A. Sbarra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Prevailing views of adolescent self-regulation (ASR) as a relatively stable disposition or skill that an individual possesses in various degrees stand in contrast to a complementary, situational perspective from family systems theory casting ASR as intertwined with ongoing family processes and malleable depending on interpersonal interactions. Using observational data from a large, ethnically diverse sample of substance-using adolescents (N ± 458), the current study examines the social context of ASR across 3 increasingly conflictual family interaction tasks. Coders rated ASR and 3 concurrent family interaction patterns: enmeshment, conflict avoidance, and negative affect. ASR declined across the 3 tasks, and independent of this systematic change, family-level negative affect in the first task exerted a strong lagged statistical effect on subsequent declines in ASR. The findings are consistent with family systems theory in both the context-dependent nature of ASR behavior and the modulating role of family interaction. In addition to its well-established dispositional properties, ASR may be of interest as a context-specific and potentially modifiable dependent variable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Family Psychology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

Keywords

  • Adolescent substance use
  • Conflict avoidance
  • Enmeshment
  • Family systems theory
  • Negative affect
  • Self-regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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