Child maltreatment, parent-child relationship quality, and parental monitoring in relation to adolescent behavior problems: Disaggregating between and within person effects

Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State


Parent-child relationship quality (PCRQ) and parental monitoring (PM) are associated with adolescent behavior problems following child maltreatment (CM). Whether these associations are best characterized as between (trait) or within-person (state) differences is unknown.


Disaggregate between and within-person effects for PCRQ and PM on adolescent behavior problems and test whether these effects vary as a function of prior CM.

Participants and setting

Participants (n = 941) are from the Longitudinal Studies on Child Abuse and Neglect (LONGSCAN).


Multi-level modeling was employed using PCRQ, PM, and adolescent behaviors assessed at ages 12, 14, and 16 and confirmed CM prior to age 12.


At the between-person level, adolescents with higher average levels of PCRQ and PM had significantly lower initial levels of externalizing (b = −9.47 and −5.54, respectively, p's < 0.05; possible range 0–66) and internalizing behaviors (b = −4.45 and −6.41, respectively, p's < 0.001; possible range 0–62). At the within-person level, greater declines in externalizing and internalizing behaviors were found when individuals reported higher-than-usual levels of PCRQ (b = −4.99 and −2.59, respectively, for externalizing and internalizing, p's < 0.001) and PM (b = −3.58 and −1.69, respectively, for externalizing and internalizing, p's < 0.001). There was an interaction between PM and CM on internalizing behaviors over time (b = −1.15, p = 0.026).


There are between and within-person effects of PCRQ and PM on adolescent behavior problems. Adolescents with CM histories and low levels of PM may be at risk for sustained internalizing behaviors.

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