Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 45, Issue 10, pp 2138–2150 | Cite as

A Social Domain Approach to Informant Discrepancies in Parental Solicitation and Family Rules

  • Aaron Metzger
  • Elizabeth Babskie
  • Rebecca Olson
  • Katelyn Romm
Empirical Research


An extensive body of research has explored the effects of parental monitoring on adolescent outcomes, but studies consistently find substantial discrepancies between parent and adolescent reports of different monitoring behaviors. Little research has examined whether parents and adolescents are more or less discrepant when reporting on parents’ rules or solicitation for different adolescent problem and health risk behaviors and few studies have explored potential explanatory variables to explicate individual variability in parent-adolescent discrepant reporting. To address this gap in the literature, the current study examined discrepancies in mother-adolescent reports of family rules and solicitation across five distinct adolescent behaviors: personal behaviors and four different risk behaviors (alcohol-related, cyber, over- and under-eating). Participants were 143 mother-adolescent dyads (Adolescent M age  = 14.42, SD = 1.73, range = 12–18, 81 % white, 60 % female). Mean-level discrepancies between maternal and adolescent reports significantly differed by category of adolescent behavior and also varied as a function of reported parental monitoring behavior (rules vs. solicitation). Discrepancies in mother-adolescent reports of behavior-specific rules and solicitation were positively associated with discrepancies in mother and adolescent judgments of the harmfulness of the activities. The results demonstrate that discrepancies in mother-adolescent reports of family process differ by category of adolescent behavior and may be undergirded by differences in mother and adolescent informational assumptions about the potential harm involved with different activities.


Adolescents Social domain Family process Monitoring Discrepancies Adolescent risk behaviors Alcohol behaviors Cyber behaviors Eating behaviors 



We would like to acknowledge the contributions of Benjamin Oosterhoff and Kaitlyn Ferris, who contributed to the design and data collection for this project.


This research was supported via internal funding through West Virginia University.

Authors’ Contributions

AM conceived of the study, oversaw the majority of the writing including introduction and discussion, coordinated the drafting of the manuscript, and wrote the majority of the introduction and discussion. EB made substantial intellectual and conceptual contributions to the design of the project, participated in the design of the study, aided in the interpretation of data and statistical analysis, and wrote multiple sections of the introduction and discussion. RO contributed to statistical analysis and interpretation and wrote the results section. KR aided RO in statistical analysis, wrote the methods section, and also helped author the results section and contributed to interpretation of data analyses. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

The current study was approved by the Institutional Review Board for West Virginia University.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. All participating youth and parents gave informed consent prior to their participation. In addition, parental permission and consent was obtained from the parents of all youth under 18 years of age.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aaron Metzger
    • 1
  • Elizabeth Babskie
    • 1
  • Rebecca Olson
    • 1
  • Katelyn Romm
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA

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