Pathways to Parental Knowledge: The Role of Family Process and Family Structure


parental knowledge, family structure, adolescence


The purpose of the current study was (a) to examine the role of family process on child disclosure, parental solicitation, and parental knowledge and (b) to examine how patterns might differ as a function of family structure. Data for this study were taken from the Flourishing Families Project, which consists of 353 two- and 147 single-parent families with an adolescent child (X – age of child = 11.35). Path analysis via structural equation modeling suggested that, for single- and two-parent families, family process was positively and directly related to child disclosure (two-parent only) and parental solicitation, and indirectly related to disclosure and solicitation via adolescents’ externalizing behaviors. In turn, externalizing behaviors, child disclosure, and parental solicitation were all directly related to parental knowledge. Despite mean differences in parenting variables as a function of family structure, findings highlight the importance of family process in promoting parents’ knowledge of their adolescent children, regardless of family structure.

Original Publication Citation

*Urry, S., Nelson, L. J., & Padilla-Walker, L. M. (2011). 'Mother knows best: Psychological control, child disclosure, and maternal knowledge in emerging adulthood. Journal of Family Studies, 17, 157-173.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Journal of Early Adolescence




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor