Author ORCID Identifier

Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Terri N Sullivan

Second Advisor

Wendy Kliewer

Third Advisor

Chin-Chih Chen


Risk-taking and boundary pushing are hallmarks of adolescent behavior, making the identification of promotive and protective factors related to both delinquent behavior and positive adolescent functioning essential. Previous studies have provided compelling evidence that suggests aspects of familial relationships may successfully attenuate delinquent behavior and support positive functioning outcomes. Despite these findings, the father-adolescent relationship is understudied in association with these outcomes. The current study examined relations between adolescents’ perception of school connectedness and father-adolescent relationship quality and delinquent behavior and positive adolescent functioning outcomes. This study used data collected when youth were nine and fifteen years old from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS). Two separate stepwise regression analyses were conducted for delinquent behavior and positive adolescent functioning outcomes, respectively, and covariates for these analyses included adolescent sex, prior delinquent behavior (delinquent behavior outcome analysis only), adolescent race, primary caregiver household income, relationship with the mother, and father’s residential status. Results showed that higher levels of school connectedness and higher quality father-adolescent relationships were associated, respectively, viii with lower levels of delinquent behavior and higher levels of positive adolescent functioning. Further, the interaction between school connectedness and the father-adolescent relationship quality was significant for positive adolescent functioning but not for delinquent behavior. However, this relation was stronger at lower versus higher levels of school connectedness. These results highlight the particular importance of the quality of father-adolescent relationships in supporting positive adolescent functioning when youth experience lower levels of school connectedness.


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