The transition from childhood to adolescence can be accompanied by increased psychological symptoms, including depression and conduct problems (Quyen, Wasserman, Loeber, McReynolds, & Miller, 2001). Parental stress levels are also likely to increase progressively as children get older (Putnick, Bornstein, Hendricks, Painter, Suwalsky, & Collins, 2010; Seginer, Vermulst, & Gerris, 2002). How adults respond to their adolescents’ problems depends on their own perceptions of and thresholds for particular problems. According to the threshold model, culture sets the threshold for adults’ distress in response to child/adolescent problems, thus determining whether the symptoms are assessed as problematic (Weisz, Suwanlert, Chaiyasit, Weiss, Walter, & Anderson, 1988). Previous research has established cultural differences between Jamaicans and Americans in how adults perceive younger children’s (ages 7–11 years) behavioral problems. Nonetheless, the adolescent period presents different challenges that are likely to pose relational strain and increased distress for parents. The present study addressed the scarcity of cross-cultural literature on adolescent problem behaviors, by examining how clinicians, teachers, and parents from Jamaica (n = 146) and the U.S. (n = 119) responded to internalizing and externalizing symptoms of male and female adolescents depicted in vignettes. The results showed both cross-cultural similarities and differences between Jamaican and U.S. adults in their perception of internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Adolescent gender moderated internalizing and externalizing symptom ratings, with larger differences observed among parents, teachers, and clinicians for adolescent males than for females. Culture was a significant moderator of adult ratings of unusualness and likelihood of improvement of adolescent symptoms. The results have implications for how adolescents may be over- or under-referred.
|Advisor:||Braje, Sopagna Eap|
|Commitee:||Callan, Joanne, Foster, Sharon, Lambert, Michael Canute|
|School:||Alliant International University|
|Department:||San Diego, CSPP|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-B 77/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Adolescent, Behavioral problems, Externalizing, Internalizing, Thresholds|
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