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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

Douglas Barnett


The current study examined how factors related to adolescents' relationships with their parents and peers can impact the association between exposure to stressful life events and behavioral problems. A sample (N = 84) of teens (13-17 years old) and their caregivers were recruited from an integrated behavior health primary care clinic in a large, Midwestern city. Youth reported on their exposure to stressful life events, trust and communication with their parents and peers, and behavioral problems. There was a significant association between exposure to stressful life events and behavior problems. When controlling for whether participants had a sibling in the study and whether they were receiving mental health service, peer trust and communication significantly moderated the association between exposure to stressful events in the community and behavioral problems, whereas the interaction for parent trust and communication was trending toward significance. There was minimal support for parent trust and communication and peer trust and communication as mediators. The results from this study provide insight into how adolescents' relationships can impact behavioral outcomes in the context of stressful life events.

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