Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Dr. Kathleen M. Ingram


The objective of this study was to investigate the relationship between stressful events in adolescents and negative outcomes of substance use, depressive symptoms, and anxiety symptoms. Parental support and unsupportive parental responses were examined as moderators of this relationship. The research design was cross-sectional, and self-report data were collected from 100 adolescents in the 8th and 9th grades. As hypothesized, significant positive associations were found between perceived stressors and each of the three negative outcomes, as well as between unsupportive parental responses and the outcomes. Also consistent with hypotheses, and previous literature, was the finding of a significant inverse association between parental support and negative outcomes. Multiple linear regression analyses supported one of the moderator hypotheses, showing that parental support buffered the association between stressful events and adolescent substance use, such that adolescents with high stress and high perceived parental support engaged in significantly less substance use than adolescents with high stress and low perceived parental support. However, no significant evidence was found for parental support as a buffer of the associations between adolescent stressful events and either depressive symptoms or anxiety symptoms. Contrary to hypotheses, no significant moderation effects of unsupportive parental responses were found for the associations between stressful events and adolescent substance use, depressive symptoms, or anxiety symptoms. A major contribution of the present study is the evidence for unsupportive parental responses as a significant predictor of negative outcomes in adolescence. The present findings further suggest that unsupportive parental responses are a distinct construct from parental support, rather than simply opposite ends of the same continuum.


© The Author

Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008

Included in

Psychology Commons