Effects of Mother-Daughter Communication on Adolescent Daughters' Beliefs and Experiences of Teen Dating Violence
MetadataShow full item record
Teen dating violence (TDV) affects nearly one third of adolescents in the United States and is increasingly one of the largest public health concerns of health researchers and practitioners. Parent involvement, and specifically messages communicated to children about healthy and unhealthy relationships, has potential to be a vital element of TDV prevention and intervention. Researchers have demonstrated that parent-adolescent communication has significant effects on adolescent risky behavior, but the effect of parent-adolescent communication on TDV has not been investigated. The purpose of this study was to examine the associations between mother-daughter communication quality, mothers' and daughters' beliefs about unhealthy relationships, and the dating violence experienced by adolescents. The sample was 58 adolescent daughters recruited from three rural Oregon high schools and their mothers. Self-report and observational data were collected from daughters and their mothers. It was hypothesized that (1) daughters' dating beliefs mediate the relationship between mothers' dating beliefs and daughters' experienced TDV, (2) mother-daughter communication quality mediates the relationship between mothers' dating beliefs and daughter's dating beliefs, and (3) mother-daughter communication quality mediates the relationship between mothers' dating beliefs and daughter's TDV. Structural equation modeling was used to test three path models where mother-daughter communication was represented by three different measures: daughters' report of having a quality conversation with their mother about dating in the past year, daughters' disagreement during observed mother-daughter communication, and daughters' disagreement during observed mother-daughter communication about dating. All three models were a good fit with the data, and significant associations were found between measures of mother-daughter communication, daughters' beliefs about dating, and daughters' experienced dating violence. Implications of this study include mother-daughter communication, perhaps a representation of a larger construct of mother-daughter relationship quality, as a point of intervention for adolescent girls' experiences of dating violence. Future research and clinical studies are required to further examine the relationships between parent-adolescent communication and TDV and the potential affect that parents may have on rates and experiences of TDV.