A longitudinal study of adolescent adjustment following family transitions Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND: This study examined the impact of family transitions, that is, parental separation, divorce, remarriage and death, upon the lives of Australian children and adolescents in a longitudinal study of temperament and development. METHODS: Using longitudinal and concurrent questionnaire data, outcomes for young people experiencing transitions were compared with those of a random comparison group whose biological parents remained together. RESULTS: No significant group differences were found with regard to behavioural and emotional adjustment concurrently or across time, nor on academic outcomes and social competence. Significant differences between the groups were revealed in measures of parent-teen conflict and parent-child attachment. A number of gender differences were found, with female participants displaying both greater adaptive and maladaptive behaviours. Particular dimensions of temperament, as well as the parent's overall rating of their child as easy or difficult, were found to be important predictors of adjustment status for both transitions and comparison groups. CONCLUSIONS: Despite some methodological limitations, this study illustrated the resilience of children experiencing family disruption across childhood and adolescence.

publication date

  • April 2005