Are Positive Relationships, Always Positive Outcomes?

by Alexleonard3 on November 13, 2016 - 4:26pm

Are Positive relationships, always positive outcomes?





            Shauna and Vonnie’s (2011) study investigates the quality of relationship between single African American mothers and their adolescents. The purpose of this study is to see if a positive or negative relationship will affect the adolescent in coping with racism and discrimination. The author’s hypothesis is that the more positive a mother-daughter relationship is, the greater the influence of an adolescent’s adjustment to racial socialization barriers.  The method that was used to conduct this study was to interview a sample of 190 African American single mothers and their children. The sample consisted of 45 percent females, which resulted in the focus of girls and less on males. The interviewers, interviewed both mothers and daughters. The mothers got asked questions such as “On a scale of 1 to 5 (1=never and 5= often) how often did they discuss the difficulties of their child and what they will face because he/she is black?” The adolescents got asked questions based on their relationship with their mothers. The questions measured if they were close to their mothers and if their mothers tried to understand their problems.  Using the same concept of basing their answers on a scale of 1-5. (1= Not true at all and 5= very true).  After conducting the data, the results show that a low mother-daughter relationship results in a higher self-esteem. On the other hand, the higher the relationship quality the lower the self-esteem. However, for depressive symptoms the outcome was different. Girls receiving non-positive relationships with their mothers, resulted in lower depressive symptoms. The opposite, when receiving a positive relationship, resulted in higher depressive symptoms. Overall the study results were different from the original hypothesis.    





            In my opinion, the good things about this study were that they used a big enough sample of 190 people and they specified that it was African American single mothers and their adolescent daughters. This study was easier to conduct as there was only one focus group.

However, the article was lacking clarity; it was hard to understand the results since the outcome was the opposite of what I thought they would be. The way the authors worded the results was confusing and I had a hard time putting it in simpler terms for a better understanding. I was also surprised at the results and how it was way different from the original hypothesis. What was predicted turned out to be the opposite outcome. In the discussion of the study, the author’s mention that the sample was conducted based on low income families. Which because of this, the findings cannot be generalized with all adolescents or wealthy income families. On that point, I wonder why the outcome of a good relationship and an increase of discussion about racism between a mother and daughter would lead to a lower self-esteem. Is it because low income mothers are prone to be depressed? While reading this study, you need to take into consideration all the facts about the sample group and how the focus is on women.  Over all I found this study very interesting because of the different result, it wasn’t like an ordinary study.



Cooper, M., Mcloyde, C. (2011) Racial Barrier Socialization and the Well-being of African American Adolescents: The Moderating Role of Mother-Adolescent Relationship Quality. doi:  10.1111/j.1532-7795.2011.00749.x



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