Daily Hassles, Mother–Child Relationship, and Behavior Problems in Muslim Arab American Adolescents in Immigrant Families

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Abstract

Objective: This longitudinal study examines reciprocal and dynamic relations among daily hassles, the mother–child relationship, and adolescent behavior problems and whether the relations differed by sociodemographic variables. Method: Three waves of data about adolescent daily hassles, quality of the mother–child relationship, and adolescent behavior problems were collected from 454 Arab Muslim adolescents and their immigrant mothers over a 3-year period. Cross-lagged structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to examine reciprocal relations among the study variables. Results: Relations between the mother–child relationship and adolescent behavior problems were reciprocal, with a poor mother–child relationship contributing to greater behavior problems and behavior problems contributing to a decline in the quality of the mother–child relationship. Relations involving daily hassles were unidirectional: A better mother–child relationship contributed to fewer daily hassles and behavior problems contributed to more daily hassles but daily hassles did not contribute to more behavior problems. Father’s education was the only sociodemographic variable that was significant: Adolescents with more highly educated fathers had a better mother–child relationship and fewer behavioral problems. Conclusions: Findings suggest that Arab American Muslim adolescents with behavior problems are differentially exposed to daily hassles but daily hassles are not the best point of intervention. Bidirectional relations between the mother–child relationship and adolescent behavior problems suggest intervening to improve the mother–child relationship and manage symptoms of adolescent behavior problems.

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