Elizabeth Blodgett Salafia, assistant professor of human development and family science, recently had an article published with colleagues from Notre Dame. Titled "The Longitudinal Interplay of Maternal Warmth and Adolescent Self-disclosure in Predicting Maternal Knowledge," the article appeared in the Journal of Research on Adolescence.
According to Blodgett Salafia, parental knowledge of their adolescents’ daily experiences is necessary for healthy adolescent adjustment. "Given the importance of parental knowledge to adolescent adjustment, it is essential to examine factors that may promote knowledge during the transition to adolescence, including parental warmth and adolescent self-disclosure," she said.
In this study, three years of self-report data were collected from 131 married mothers and their adolescents. Results indicated that greater maternal warmth in sixth grade predicted higher levels of adolescents’ self-disclosure in seventh grade, which in turn led to higher levels of maternal knowledge in eighth grade. "A warm and nurturing parenting style encourages a positive family climate where adolescents are likely to openly communicate and parents are therefore likely to be knowledgeable of their adolescents’ activities," Blodgett Salafia said.
The findings highlight the importance of both mothers and adolescents in the process leading to parental knowledge. Blodgett Salafia said understanding the factors that affect parental knowledge may be especially beneficial for future prevention and intervention efforts focused on healthy adjustment during the transition to adolescence.