3
Families

Families are the primary setting for nurturing children, and their ability to succeed in this responsibility has been weakened over the last two decades by changes in their economic security and by changes in family structure that have increased the proportion of children and adolescents living with only one parent. This chapter begins with an overview of changes in family economics and structure and discusses how those changes influence adolescent development.

FAMILY ECONOMICS AND FAMILY STRUCTURE

Chapter 2 reviewed the deteriorating economic position of primeage young adults. This chapter begins by elaborating on the consequences of those trends for young families with children. Between 1973 and 1990 the median income of families with children headed by a parent under age 30 dropped 32 percent when adjusted for inflation. The decline has been even sharper for families headed by a person under age 25. Although demographic changes, especially the increase in single-parent households, has been an important factor in increasing the number of children living at or near poverty, two-parent households have also suffered. Most two-parent families have maintained their relative standard of living only by virtue of having two wage earners. Almost 39 percent of children had mothers in the workforce in 1970; by 1990 the proportion was 61 percent. Furthermore, working



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Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings 3 Families Families are the primary setting for nurturing children, and their ability to succeed in this responsibility has been weakened over the last two decades by changes in their economic security and by changes in family structure that have increased the proportion of children and adolescents living with only one parent. This chapter begins with an overview of changes in family economics and structure and discusses how those changes influence adolescent development. FAMILY ECONOMICS AND FAMILY STRUCTURE Chapter 2 reviewed the deteriorating economic position of primeage young adults. This chapter begins by elaborating on the consequences of those trends for young families with children. Between 1973 and 1990 the median income of families with children headed by a parent under age 30 dropped 32 percent when adjusted for inflation. The decline has been even sharper for families headed by a person under age 25. Although demographic changes, especially the increase in single-parent households, has been an important factor in increasing the number of children living at or near poverty, two-parent households have also suffered. Most two-parent families have maintained their relative standard of living only by virtue of having two wage earners. Almost 39 percent of children had mothers in the workforce in 1970; by 1990 the proportion was 61 percent. Furthermore, working

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Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings mothers have increased their hours of work. In the decade from 1979 to 1989, the average number of hours worked by wives increased 32 percent. Without the income provided by wives entering the workforce and increasing their number of hours worked, incomes for 60 percent of two-parent families would have been lower in 1989 than in 1979 (U.S. Congress, 1992). While increasing workforce participation by wives has been critical in maintaining family incomes, the additional effort that families must make to maintain their incomes creates stress for the family and problems in providing care and supervision for children. For families who have not been able to increase their earnings sufficiently to stay out of poverty, the consequences are severe and are not confined to material deprivation. Low-income parents report a greater degree of worry about their financial futures and concern for their child's health and education than do more affluent parents, a difference that is most pronounced among central-city inhabitants (National Commission on Children, 1991b). Economic hardship—whether from low wages, sustained poverty, or unemployment—significantly diminishes the emotional well-being of parents, with direct and indirect effects on children's health and well-being (McCord, 1990; Elder, 1992). Economic hardships are linked to family disintegration and to the increase in single-parent households. Further, single parents and parents experiencing economic hardship are less likely to use the ''good" parenting practices that can help some children overcome the risks associated with their domestic and economic circumstances (Dornbusch, 1989; Spivak and Weitzman, 1987; Dubow and Luster, 1990). It should not be surprising, then, that the most consistent, and typically the most powerful, predictor of adolescent success and well-being is family income. Adolescents growing up in families experiencing economic hardship are at high risk for health and behavioral problems, for school failure, and for becoming involved in criminal activities. Adolescents from low-income families (incomes less than 150 percent of the poverty rate) experience higher rates of poor physical health, mental disorders, and depression (Brindis et al., 1992; Klerman with Parker, 1991; Institute of Medicine, 1989; Comer, 1985; Tuma, 1989). Adolescents from low-income families are more likely to engage in delinquent acts, have early sexual intercourse, experience adolescent pregnancy, be arrested, and drop out of school. They are also less likely to make a successful transition from school

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Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings into postsecondary education or the labor market (Irwin and Shafer, 1991; Earls, 1991; Dryfoos, 1990; Sum and Fogg, 1991). Adolescents from low-income families show lower rates of achievement in school. For example, only 69 percent of whites, 65 percent of blacks, and 61 percent of Hispanic unmarried youth from families with low earnings will graduate from high school or earn a general equivalency diploma by age 24 (Mortenson and Wu, 1990). The high failure rates among low income students reflect, in substantial measure, the fact that many low-income students live in single-parent homes. Regardless of income, female household headship favors increased high school dropout (Hauser and Phang, 1992). More than half of black high school students are now from single-parent households (20 percent of whites and 30 percent of Hispanics). Family Structure Family formation has changed dramatically in the past 20 years. Adults are waiting longer to get married, divorcing more frequently, and waiting longer to remarry after a divorce. Between 1970 and 1988, the proportion of 20- to 24-year-olds who had never married rose by 70 percent for women and by more than 40 percent for men. Indeed, over the past 15 years, the percentage of young people still living with their parents has steadily increased to about 54 percent at age 24 and 30 percent at age 29 (Grant Foundation, 1988; Bureau of the Census, 1989a). Consequently, the absolute number of married couples with children declined during the 1980s. Although the "married with children" household remains the dominant family structure, its character has changed because of maternal employment. By 1987, only 29 percent of children in two-parent households were being reared in the traditional "breadwinner-homemaker" family structure (Zill, 1990). "Nontraditional" families show the greatest growth rates during the past decade, continuing trends that began 30 years ago. Increasing numbers of households are without children, and more adults are unmarried and living alone. Table 3-1 shows the change in living arrangements of children under age 18 between 1970 and 1990. Over this period, the percentage of children living in two-parent households decreased by 16.7 percent. As noted in Chapter 2, there has been significant growth in single-parent households. About half of all marriages now end in divorce, a rate twice that of 1960. About a quarter of all births are to unmarried women, a majority of whom are over the age of 20. The net result has been that about 25 percent of all children

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Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings TABLE 3-1 U.S. Households with Children Under 18 (in 1,000s) Household Type 1970 1980 1990 Percent Change, 1970-1990 Married with children 58,939 48,624 46,503 -21.09 Single parent 8,199 12,466 15,867 +93.52 Single mother 7,452 11,406 13,874 +86.18 Single father 748 1,060 1,993 +166.44 Other 2,024 2,337 1,768 -12.64   SOURCE: U.S. Congress (1991:1080). live with only one parent, usually the mother, a rate double that of 1970 (Bureau of the Census, 1991a). Overall, about 50 percent of all children will reside in a single-parent home before age 18, spending an average of 6 years with a single parent (Bumpass, 1984; Norton and Glick, 1986). Adolescent mothers represent a special case of family structure. Birthrates for adolescent mothers are increasing and, increasingly, the mothers are unmarried. Adolescent birthrates, which had declined steadily since World War II, began rising again in 1985, and by 1989 were higher than they had been since the early 1970s (Figure 3-1). But while births to unmarried women represented only 15 percent of all births to adolescents in 1960, and 30 percent in 1970, by 1989 over 67 percent of teenage mothers were unmarried, including 92 percent of black teenage mothers (Moore, 1992). Single-Parent Households Single-parent families are likely to live in or near poverty. Families with two wage earners have, on average, three times the family income of families with one wage earner. Poverty rates are almost six times higher for single-parent families than for two-parent families (Table 3-2). About 73 percent of children in single-parent families experience poverty at some point in their lives, and a substantial proportion (20 percent) spend 7 or more years in poverty. And since 87 percent of single parents are women, the

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Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings FIGURE 3-1 Births per 1,000 females aged 15-19 and percentage of teenage mothers who were unmarried. SOURCE: Moore (1992). problems of single parenthood are often compounded by those of gender discrimination in employment and social welfare (Ellwood, 1988; Garfinkel and McLanahan, 1986; Handler and Hasenfeld, 1991; Hodgkinson, 1991; Bureau of the Census, 1989b). It is hardly surprising that single parents are twice as likely as married couples to be worried about "making ends meet" and concerned that their children will "get beat up," "get pregnant," "not get a job," or "drop out of school'' (National Commission on Children, 1991b). Divorce reduces the economic security of women and their children even if they are not thrust into poverty. One year after divorce, women's income averaged only 67 percent of their predivorce income compared with 90 percent for divorced men (Duncan and Hoffman, 1985). The data in Table 3-3 show that, despite increased maternal participation in the labor market, the economic security of children substantially declines after divorce. Moreover,

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Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings TABLE 3-2 Child and Household Poverty, 1974-1990   Rate of Poverty Demographic groups Lowest (year) Highest (year) 1990 All children under 18 15.4 (1974) 22.3 (1983) 20.6 White 11.2 (1974) 17.5 (1983) 15.9 Black 39.8 (1974) 47.6 (1982) 44.8 Hispanic 27.6 (1978) 40.3 (1985) 38.4 All married-couple families (with children under 18) 5.9 (1978) 10.1 (1983) 7.8 White 5.2 (1978) 9.2 (1983) 7.1 Black 12.0 (1978) 18.0 (1983) 14.3 Hispanic N/A N/A 20.8 All female heads of household (with children under 18) 39.6 (1979) 47.8 (1982) 44.5 White 31.3 (1979) 39.8 (1983, 1986) 37.9 Black 53.9 (1989) 63.7 (1982) 56.1 Hispanic N/A N/A 58.2 NOTE: N/A, not available. SOURCE: Bureau of the Census (1991a:Tables 3 and 4). only about 25 percent of mothers who are owed child support payments from fathers actually receive full payment; 24 percent receive no payment at all. Less educated and minority mothers are less likely to receive child support payments than are educated and nonminority mothers (U.S. Congress, 1991:666; Garfinkel and McLanahan, 1986). Two-Parent Households Even for two-parent households, working does not guarantee an escape from poverty if both parents have earnings at or near the minimum wage. In 1990, more than 59 percent of all poor families had one worker, but 18 percent had two or more workers and still remained poor (Bureau of the Census, 1991a). Table 3-4 shows characteristics of working poor households. The next group, those partially employed or unemployed, constitute 35 percent of poor

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Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings TABLE 3-3 Economic Status of Children Under 15 Years of Age, 4 Months Before and 4 Months After Parental Separation Measurement of Well-Being Before After Average monthly per capita income $ 549 $ 436 Average monthly family incomea $2,435 $1,543 Average monthly household incomea $2,461 $1,546 Mother worked full time, all weeks 33% 41% Mother did not work at all 43% 31% Worked 60% 72% Average weekly hours of some work 34 37 In poverty 19% 36% Receiving child support 16% 44% Receiving AFDC 9% 18% Receiving food stamps 10% 27% a Household income aggregates income of all persons residing with the child in a given month. Family income excludes income from persons unrelated to the child. SOURCE: Bureau of the Census (1991b). two-parent families; involuntary unemployment was the primary cause of poverty for the vast majority of these families (Ellwood, 1988; see also Shapiro, 1990; Bane and Ellwood, 1989). Increases in the earned income tax credit and the extension of certain Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) benefits to two-parent families suffering from unemployment have improved the safety net for poor and low-income families. However, it is far from complete or adequate. In addition, these families are less able to secure other types of temporary income support—such as unemployment insurance—than are middle-income families. Less than half of unemployed workers receive unemployment compensation, and those who either fail to qualify for benefits or exhaust benefits before finding new work are concentrated in the low-wage workforce. Furthermore, on average, jobs found after a period of unemployment pay about one-third less than the previous job (Danziger and Gottschalk, 1988; U.S. Congress, 1991; Children's Defense Fund and Northeastern University Center for Labor Market Studies, 1992). The cumulative result is that full-time working poor families may actually be the poorest of the poor after taking into account the income transfer payments that are available to the nonworking poor but not to those who are employed (Ellwood, 1988). Two-parent

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Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings TABLE 3-4 Number of Families with Children Who Work and Yet Remain Poor, 1980-1990 (in 1,000s) Family type 1980 1985 1990 All families with children 5,004 5,803 6,001 No work 1,789 2,100 2,206 Some work 3,215 3,704 3,795 Up to 0.75 FTWE 1,572 1,765 1,713 0.75 FTWE or more 1,643 1,938 2,082 Married-couple families 1,977 2,262 2,012 No work 304 348 304 Some work 1,674 1,914 1,708 Up to 0.75 FTWE 335 574 424 0.75 FTWE or more 1,142 1,340 1,284 NOTE: FTWE, full-time worker equivalent: 35 hours a week for 50-week period or 40 hours a week for 52-week period. SOURCE: U.S. Congress (1991:1285). working poor families in rural areas face perhaps the greatest degree of hardship because rural areas generally offer fewer social services and benefits than urban areas (Shapiro, 1990). FAMILY STRUCTURE, PARENTING STYLES, AND ADOLESCENT OUTCOMES There is a broad literature on the relationships among family structure, family processes, and adolescent outcomes. (By "outcomes" we mean the overall well-being and achievements of the adolescent, including physical and mental health status, school achievement, and the development of social skills that lead to success in employment and common life.) From this literature, family income clearly stands out as the strongest "predictor" of outcomes. For example, it accounts for between 30 and 50 percent of the difference in high school graduation and school achievement among children from single-and two-parent households (Astone and McLanahan, 1989; Zajonc, 1976; Milne et al., 1986). Economic disparities do not account for all of the difference in adolescent outcomes, however. Several other factors—family structure, home environment, childrearing practices, and child-parent

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Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings relationships—independently contribute to adolescent health and behavior and often account for a meaningful variation in those outcomes (see Marjoribanks, 1972; Walberg and Marjoribanks, 1973; Dornbusch, 1989). For example, even after controlling for socioeconomic status, single-parent families and stepfamilies are far more likely to have adolescent children exhibiting deviant behavior (smoking, early dating, truancy, running away from home, contacts with police, and arrests) than are two-parent families (Dornbusch et al., 1985). Children of Single-Parent Families Adolescents growing up in single-parent families are disadvantaged in a number of ways that compromise their future, and the consequences have been shown to persist over multiple generations (McLanahan, 1986). Although the strong correlation between single-parent households and poverty makes it difficult to entirely distinguish the effects of poverty from those of single parenting, studies demonstrate that growing up in a single-parent household often has damaging effects regardless of income. Controlling for socioeconomic status, studies indicate that adolescents from single-parent families are more likely than their peers from two-parent families to engage in health-compromising behaviors, such as drug and alcohol use, unprotected sex, and cigarette smoking. They are also more likely to drop out of school, suffer from mental illness, and commit suicide. Overall, these risks appear to be more pronounced for sons than for daughters of single parents (Dornbusch et al., 1985; Kellam et al., 1977; Astone and McLanahan, 1989; Dornbusch and Gray, 1988; Hauser and Phang, 1992). Despite best parental efforts, the data suggest that single-parent households constitute a high-risk setting for young people. Again, however, it is difficult to distinguish some effects of living with only one parent from the effects of poverty or low income since the correlations between the two are so high. As Bronfenbrenner (1991:4) summarizes: The developmental risks associated with a one-parent family structure are relatively small … in comparison with those involved in two other types of environmental contexts. The first and most destructive of these is poverty. Because many single-parent families are also poor, parents and their children are in double jeopardy. But even when two parents are present, research in both developed and developing countries reveals that in households living under stressful economic

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Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings and social conditions, processes of parent-child interaction and environmentally oriented child activity are more difficult to initiate and to sustain. To be sure, research also indicates that when the mother, or some other adult committed to the child's well-being, does manage to establish and maintain a pattern of progressive reciprocal interaction, the disruptive impact of poverty on development is significantly reduced. But, among the poor, the proportion of parents who, despite their stressful life circumstances, are able to provide quality care is, under present conditions, not very large. And even for this minority, the parents' buffering power begins to decline sharply by the time children are five or six years old and exposed to impoverished and disruptive settings outside the home. Across all social classes, giving too early autonomy to adolescents appears to have an unfortunate consequence—an increased probability that the youth will engage in deviant acts. A major factor in the early granting of autonomy involves family decision making. A major part of the explanation for this high rate of adolescent deviance in single-parent families is their propensity to permit adolescents to have early control over their own behavior. In such decision-making areas as choice of friends, choice of clothes, ways of spending money, and time they must come home, permitting such early decision making by the youth alone is an understandable response by an overloaded single parent (Dornbusch et al., 1985). In a similar fashion, a national sample of American youth found that adolescents from single-parent families were performing less well in school than youth from two-parent households (Dornbusch and Wood, 1988). Once again, this relationship persisted across social classes. The children from single-parent households were not doing worse on IQ nor on achievement tests, yet their teachers rated them lower on intellectual ability and performance. Lower ratings from teachers were associated with high levels of adolescent deviance. A different sample of adolescents was used to replicate the key findings: single-parent households were more likely to give early autonomy, and that early autonomy was associated with higher levels of deviance and lower school performance (Dornbusch and Gray, 1988). An analysis by Hauser and Phang of some 115,000 youths aged 15 to 24 covered in the October Current Population Surveys (1973 to 1989) confirms the finding that living in a female-headed household with no spouse present increases the probability that an adolescent will drop out of school. Controlling for social and economic

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Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings characteristics of students and their households, the drop-out rates for adolescents in female-headed households are 61 percent higher among whites, 26 percent among blacks, and 23 percent among Hispanics. Children of Divorce Children from divorced families must confront the emotional stress of a breakup—the often prolonged time preceding and subsequent to divorce proceedings—in addition to conditions associated with single parenthood. Many of these children experience elevated levels of depression and anger, and declining school performance and self-esteem. Children of divorce experience a range of stresses of greater magnitude than children in two-parent households, and these stresses are directly associated with indices of adolescent maladjustment (Siegel and Griffin, 1984). Adolescents who experienced divorce at an early age may be at particularly high risk of school failure and emotional adjustment problems (Wallerstein, 1985; Heatherington and Camara, 1984). The effects of divorce can be mediated by family practices, of course. Parents who maintain strong emotional relationships with their children, display supportive attitudes, and practice authoritative parenting (see below) can help their children and adolescents escape some of the risks of divorce (Heatherington and Camara, 1984; Montemayor, 1984; Buchanan et al., 1991). When custodial parents remarry, however, children experience another stressful transition, which appears especially difficult for girls. Adolescents who grow up in stepfamilies show disproportionately high levels of adolescent deviance and poor school performance. This effect is diminished when separated parents maintain collegial relations and engage in cooperative parenting (Dornbusch et al., 1985; Kellam et al., 1977; Astone and McLanahan, 1989). Better outcomes for adolescent children can, nevertheless, occur despite overt hostility between parents. Buchanan et al. (1991) found that conflict between parents has negative effects by drawing the child into the conflict. Stress between the parents is often diverted to the parent-child relationships. But adolescents need not necessarily be caught between battling parents. If adolescents are not used as message carriers or informers, their adjustment is not harmed despite high levels of parental conflict. Thus, high-conflict parents who do not ask their adolescents to serve as messenger, informant, or spy can reduce the impact of their hostility upon adolescent children of divorce.

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Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings Adolescent Mothers and Their Children Children born to adolescent mothers—usually a single parent who has yet to reach social maturity, who often has low earnings, and who is likely to be unmarried or divorced—face the highest risk of poor developmental outcomes. Not unexpectedly, children of adolescent mothers are at high risk for health, developmental, and academic problems (Luster and Mittelstaedt, 1991; Spivak and Weitzman, 1987; Hofferth, 1987). Adolescent children of adolescent mothers are far more likely than those of older mothers to do poorly in school and to engage in high-risk behaviors, including early sexual intercourse and adolescent pregnancy (Furstenberg et al., 1992). Part of the reason for poor developmental outcomes is that households led by teenage parents often have very low family income. It is unclear whether the condition of teenage parenthood per se is responsible for the low future earnings of the mothers, or whether this outcome is best attributed to the low incomes of their own parents. However, it is clear that teenage mothers have low incomes and are at risk for future low earnings and not completing high school (Geronimous and Korenman, 1991). Recent research that examined the "alternative life courses" of adolescent parents illustrates the ways that young parents respond to the responsibilities of childrearing: for example, white mothers appear more likely to marry to legitimize their child; blacks are more likely to incorporate the mother and her infant into an extended household, with other adults—usually the adolescent's mother or maternal grandmother or both—assisting in child care (Furstenberg et al., 1992; Wilson, 1989; Luster and Dubow, 1990). Living with other adults appears to benefit adolescent mothers, who are more likely to complete high school and be employed than those who marry (Furstenberg and Crawford, 1978; Wilson, 1989; Hayes, 1987). Among adolescent mothers receiving AFDC, blacks were more likely than whites to remain in their parents' home after childbirth, continuing schooling and delaying marriage; they stayed longer on welfare, but were more likely to graduate from high school (Testa, 1992). Parenting Style Parenting style is a concept used by researchers to identify variations in the interactions and childrearing practices that characterize family life. Diana Baumrind has developed a generally accepted typology of parenting styles. Baumrind's parenting styles are based

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Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings on interactions between the quality of affect and the quality of control. Authoritative parenting is highly demanding and controlling but is also supportive and responsive. Authoritarian parenting is also highly demanding and controlling but is also punitive. Authoritarian parents are not responsive to their children and project little warmth and supportiveness. In contrast, permissive parents are highly responsive and warm but not demanding. These households are characterized by a lack of rules and regulations. Disengaged parents (also referred to as rejecting-neglecting) are minimally demanding and for the most part unresponsive. Children are largely ignored except when they make demands, which are usually responded to with hostility and explosions (Baumrind, 1966, 1971, 1978, 1991a,b). Baumrind concludes that "authoritative" parenting—characterized by warmth, demandingness, and a willingness to discuss the application of rules to particular situations—is superior to "authoritarian" and "permissive" parenting (Baumrind, 1973; Baumrind and Black, 1967). While there are exceptions, a large body of research provides consistent support for this assertion. Authoritative parenting has been found to be associated with better psychosocial development, school grades, greater self-reliance, and lower levels of delinquent behavior among adolescents (Hill, 1980; Maccoby and Martin, 1983; Dornbusch et al., 1985; Clark, 1983; Steinberg et al., 1991). In contrast, authoritarian and permissive parenting, lack of nurturance, too little monitoring, and "too early autonomy'' are consistently found to relate negatively to school achievement and positive social behaviors (Lepper and Greene, 1978; Dornbusch and Wood, 1988; Rumberger et al., 1990; Hayes, 1987). Building on Baumrind's framework, other researchers have sought to identify the specific components of parenting style that are most powerful in affecting adolescent outcomes. For example, joint decision making between parents and adolescents contributes to positive adolescent outcomes (Epstein, 1991; Dornbusch and Gray, 1988). Consistent parenting and regularity of family events affect school achievement positively (Gigliotti and Brookover, 1975; Keith et al., 1986). Another powerful component is parental monitoring: parents who "keep track" of their adolescents and maintain high levels of supervision are more likely to have children with low levels of delinquency and drug use and better school performance (Patterson et al., 1989; Poole, 1978; Marjoribanks, 1983; Abrahamse et al., 1985; McCord, 1990). Some analysts believe that monitoring and joint decision making are effective because they shield the adolescent from the negative influence of peer groups (Fuligni and Eccles, 1992).

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Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings Parenting styles are not just a correlate of positive adolescent outcomes. Longitudinal studies indicate that authoritative parenting and parental involvement in school appear to cause later improved school performance. But there are ethnic differences in the power of parenting practices. A series of studies has found that parental behaviors have less influence on adolescent student achievement among blacks than among other ethnic groups (Steinberg et al., 1992b). One possibility for the relative lack of influence of authoritative parenting among black adolescents is that they are especially influenced by their peers. It is possible that these peer influences are overwhelming and undermining the positive impact of good parenting. Unfortunately, there are no data to test this speculation (Steinberg et al., 1992a). On this issue, like many others, we have insufficient empirical information about adolescent development in different ethnic groups (Spencer and Dornbusch, 1990). Finally, it is conceivable that community characteristics are overwhelming the impact of black family structures. High parental education and two-parent families are less predictive of high school grades for blacks than for non-Hispanic whites. It appears that the ethnic mix of the residential community affects the relation between family statuses and adolescent grades. Living in a census tract with a substantial proportion of minority residents affects non-Hispanic whites as well as blacks, reducing the influence of family statuses. That most blacks live in such census tracts, and fewer non-Hispanic whites do, helps to explain the ethnic differences in the influences of family statuses on adolescent school performance (Dornbusch and Ritter, 1991). Violence in Families Child abuse and neglect might be called the worst-case parenting style, and many children are also exposed to violence among other family members. Reports of maltreated children have increased substantially since 1976, when the first national figures for child maltreatment were generated. In 1976, approximately 670,000 children were reported to be maltreated. There were approximately 2.7 million children reported as abused or neglected in 1990; 1.25 million children reportedly died as a result of maltreatment in 1990 (79 percent of these deaths occurred in children under the age of 5) (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1992; Daro and McCurdy, 1991). In 1990, 45 percent of maltreatment reports were for neglect, 25 percent for physical

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Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings abuse, 16 percent for sexual abuse, and 6 percent for emotional abuse (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1992). Unfortunately, these estimates of the incidence of maltreatment in the United States are based on official or unofficial reports which are problematic to interpret because of noncomparability of case definitions across states and the inclusion of duplicated cases. Studies of child maltreatment rates that employ standard survey techniques on nationally representative samples are rare (National Research Council, 1993). Certain family structures and low income can increase the risk of abuse or neglect. The tensions surrounding family breakup may also increase the chance of witnessing or suffering abuse by an adult. Poor, unmarried, teenaged mothers having their first child are most likely to abuse or neglect that child (Olds et al., 1988). For children from families with incomes less than $15,000, the rate of physical abuse was 3-1/2 times greater, the rate of sexual abuse six times greater, and the rate of serious injury seven times greater than for the children of more affluent families (Sedlak, 1988). Child abuse and neglect are strongly associated with negative adolescent outcomes. Adolescents who were physically abused or neglected as children are twice as likely to be arrested for a violent offense (Widom, 1989). Victims of child sexual abuse often display fear, immaturity, and neurotic behavior, as well as high levels of aggression and antisocial behavior (Finkelhor, 1991). Moreover, the experience of family violence appears to be transmitted from one generation to the next: one study found that, among adults who were abused as children, more than one-fifth later abused their own children (Straus et al., 1980). CONCLUSIONS Changes in family income and changes in family structure over the past two decades have made it more difficult for many parents to provide their children with the security and stability that are most conducive to physical and emotional health, success in school, and the avoidance of health-and life-compromising behaviors that jeopardize the successful transition to adulthood. Single parents and families living at or below the poverty level face the greatest challenges. However, even two-parent, middle-income families face problems. Raising a young person, especially an early adolescent, is a difficult experience under the best conditions, and the average parent now has 11 fewer hours to spend with the children

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Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings each week as compared to parents in 1960 (Small et al., 1988; Fuchs, 1988). Moreover, less than 5 percent of all families have another adult (e.g., grandparent) living in the home, compared to 50 percent two generations ago. This reduces the backup support that might otherwise be available to working parents. As a result, children are increasingly on their own—an estimated 1.3 million children age 5 to 14 must care for themselves during the hours when they are not in school (National Commission on Children, 1991a). The combination of financial insecurity for an increasing proportion of families, increased work effort by parents seeking to maintain their living standard, and the demographic changes that have so dramatically increased the number of children and adolescents living in single-parent households result in increasing numbers of adolescents who do not receive the nurturance necessary for positive development. The consequences are not inescapably negative. Indeed, the majority of adolescents—even those from poor and single-parent homes—do succeed despite the obstacles. However, the adverse outcomes—the failure rates—are unacceptably and unnecessarily high. REFERENCES Abrahamse, A.F., P.A. Morrison, and L.J. Waite 1985 How Family Characteristics Deter Early Unwed Parenthood. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Population Association of America, Boston. Astone, N., and S. McLanahan 1989 Family Structure and High School Completion: The Role of Parental Practices. Discussion paper no. 905-89, Institute for Research on Poverty, University of Wisconsin, Madison. Bane, M.J., and D.T. Ellwood 1989 One fifth of the nation's children: why are they poor? Science 245:1047-1053. Baumrind, D. 1966 Effects of authoritative parental control on child behavior. Child Development 37(4):887-907. 1971 Current patterns of parental authority. Developmental Psychology Monographs, Part 2, 4(1):1-103. 1973 The development of instrumental competence through socialization. Pp. 3-46 in A.D. Pick, ed., Minnesota Sysmposium on Child Psychology. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. 1978 Parental disciplinary patterns and social competence in children. Youth and Society 9(3):239-276. 1991a Parenting styles and adolescent development. Pp. 758-772 in R. Lerner, A.C. Petersen, and J. Brooks-Gunn, eds., The Encyclopedia on Adolescence. New York: Garland.

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