OBJECTIVE: Mothers' relational schemas (RSs) regarding their adolescents were assessed using the Family Affective Attitude Rating Scale for coding 5-minute speech samples. The internal consistency and validity of positive RS and negative RS scales were also evaluated. METHOD: Data were collected from a multiethnic subsample of early-starting antisocial (n = 20) and successful (n = 20) urban adolescents and their families, using direct observations of parent-adolescent interactions, 5-minute speech samples, and questionnaires. RESULTS: The negative RS and positive RS scales were internally consistent, correlated reliably with critical and positive dimensions of 5-minute speech samples expressed emotion and with observed parent-adolescent interactions, and discriminated between antisocial and successful adolescents. Negative RS accounted for unique variance in adolescent antisocial behavior when controlling for previous problem behavior and observed coercion. A significant interaction was also found between negative RS and observed parent-adolescent dynamics when escalations in adolescent problem behavior were added to the model. CONCLUSIONS: RS narratives provided unique information in the prediction of adolescent antisocial behavior. RSs should be considered in the assessment of family dynamics and the design of interventions to prevent and treat adolescent behavior problems.
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