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Parent–Child Relationships and Adolescents' Life Satisfaction Across the First Decade of the New Millennium

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Family Relations / Family Relations Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Studies

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Objective To examine whether changes occurred in parent–child relationships (maternal and paternal affection, ease of communication with the mother and father, maternal and paternal knowledge, and family activities) between 2002 and 2010 in boys and girls and to examine the contributions of these family dimensions to life satisfaction. Background Although parent–child relationships may be affected by social change, there are few investigations of change in parent–child relationships over time. Method The sample consisted of 46,593 adolescents between 11 to 18 years of age who participated in the 2002, 2006, or 2010 editions of the Health Behaviour in School‐aged Children (HBSC) study in Spain. Trend analysis including univariate analyses of variance (ANOVAs) and factorial ANOVAs were conducted separately for boys and girls, and effect size tests were calculated. Results Communication with fathers and family activities statistically increased across HBSC editions and parent–child relationships were positively associated with life satisfaction across the examined period. Conclusion There were small positive changes in some family dimensions, and some of them were increasingly important for adolescent life satisfaction over time. Implications Interventions for strengthening parent–child relationships and promoting adolescent well‐being should include mothers and fathers and emphasize affection, communication, and family activities.