Does Parent-Child Relationship Influence Depression and Anxiety in Young Adults?

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Feeling of depression and anxiety is experienced among most people as normal reactions to negative events such as loss of a job, worry, loneliness and so on, the reoccurrence of these feelings can be could be as a result of an underlying mental disorder. As depression and anxiety is seen in adults mostly in women than in men, it is also not an uncommon feeling among children and young adults. In younger adults, depression and anxiety is more likely to occur due to some factors such as bullying, school refusal, parent’s separation and death of parents. Depression is young adults makes them to be irritable, get into trouble, alcohol and drug use.

Over the years, through research scientists and clinicians have established a list of risk factors that can cause depression and anxiety in young adults. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, an organization that has its focus on health, released a report on young adults well-being prioritizing the risk factors in young adults. With racism, poverty and discrimination making the list yearly, with school rejection (high achieving schools) mostly experienced in rich communities, making the list in 2018. “teens in high-achieving schools face different kinds of pressure, but it is substantial pressure nonetheless,” said Ashley Ebbert, an Arizona State University psychology (ASU) graduate.

Ebbert collaborated with Frank Infurna and Suniya Luthar all from the Department of Psychology, ASU, in the study they examined the influence of parent-child relationship on the mental health of young adults attending successful schools.

The study involved 262 children, assessing the mental health and the quality of the participant’s relationship with their parents. The participants from New England Study of Suburban Youth completed questionnaires with variables that assess their connection with others and their mental health. The study is continuation of a study of young adults which was carried out Luthar, who is a Professor of Psychology at ASU. “Parent-child relationships continue to serve as instrumental sources of support throughout adolescence, the quality of these connections can have ripple effects on adjustment and mental health outcomes” said Ebbert.

From the results of the research the participants noted a loss in the level of connection with their parents. Most children in mid-school felt the level at which their parents communicate and trust them reduced. The results showed a normality in the children drifting from their parents and having reduced communication which starts mostly during their middle school. “kids pulling away from parents is a well-known phenomenon of adolescence, but we found that it really begins in earl middle school”, Luthar said. The result further showed the gender differences, both in the participants and the effect the parents have on a participant, with girls mostly feeling distant from both parents, with the girls having experienced anxiety more than boys.

The suggest of the research suggests the parent-children relationship cannot really be classified a risk factor for depression and anxiety as it is a normality for young adults pulling away from their parents, preferring the company of their friends. It can be stated that the parents should work constantly on supporting and having a good relationship with their children.