Associations between Stress, Psychosomatic Complaints, and Parental Criticism among Affluent Adolescent Girls
- 97 Downloads
A growing body of research has shown that adolescent girls in the context of affluence face a series of unique pressures that may increase social-emotional problems. Little research, however, has examined associations between perceived stress and psychosomatic complaints among privileged youth. In the present study, we investigated the relationships between stress, psychosomatic complaints, and parental criticism in a sample of preadolescent and adolescent girls (n = 218) from selective, private schools. Using OLS regression analyses, cross-sectional and longitudinal associations were evident between perceived stress and psychosomatic complaints, with increases in stress associated with increases in psychosomatic problems. Parental criticism was also examined as a predictor of girls’ psychosomatic complaints and stress levels. Results indicated that parental criticism was significantly and positively associated with psychosomatic problems in cross-sectional models and that perceived stress levels mediated this association. Additional analyses demonstrated that the relationship between psychosomatic complaints and stress may be bidirectional. Taken together, results from this exploratory study suggest that girls in the context of affluence may also experience psychosomatic complaints, in addition to social-emotional problems.
KeywordsAffluence Adolescence Stress Parenting Psychosomatic complaints
K.W. assisted with the data analyses and wrote the paper. T.J.L. collaborated with the design and execution of the 21st Century Athenas study, assisted with the data analyses, and wrote the paper. B.L. PI of the 21st Century Athenas study and collaborated with the writing and editing of the final manuscript. A.D.M. collaborated with the design and execution of the 21st Century Athenas study and collaborated with the writing and editing of the final manuscript. R.S. Co-PI of the 21st Century Athenas study and collaborated with the writing and editing of the final manuscript.
This study was conducted with the support and cooperation of Laurel School’s Center for Research on Girls. This study was also supported through Wingate University’s Summer Research Grant Program.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human subjects were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution or practice at which the studies were conducted.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- Ciciolla, L., Curlee, A., Karageorge, J., & Luthar, S. S. (2016). When mothers and fathers are seen as disproportionately valuing achievements: Implications for adjustment among upper middle class youth. Journal of Youth and Adolescence. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-016-0596-x.
- Currie, C. (1998). Health behaviour in school-aged children. A WHO Cross-National Study. Research protocol for the 1997/1998 Survey. Edinburgh: Research Unit in Health and Behavioural Change, University of Edinburgh.Google Scholar
- Hinshaw, S. P., & Kranz, R. (2009). The triple bind: Saving our teenage girls from today's pressures. New York, NY: Ballantine.Google Scholar
- Lazarus, R. S., & Folkman, S. (1984). Stress, appraisal, and coping. New York, NY: Springer.Google Scholar
- Levine, M. (2006). The price of privilege: How parental pressure and material advantage are creating a generation of disconnected and unhappy kids. New York, NY: Harper.Google Scholar
- Luthar, S. S., & Latendresse, S. J. (2005). Children of the affluent: Challenges to well-being. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14(1), 49–53.Google Scholar
- Rosin, H. (2015). The silicon valley suicides. The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/12/the-silicon-valley-suicides/413140/
- Thoits, P. A. (1995). Stress, coping, and social support processes: Where are we? What next? Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 35, 53–79.Google Scholar
- Yates, T. M., Tracy, A. J., & Luthar, S. S. (2008). Nonsuicidal self-injury among “privileged” youths: Longitudinal and cross-sectional approaches to developmental process. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76(1), 52–62. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.76.1.52.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar