Researcher: Family Ties are a Powerful Influence in Lives of Black Youth

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Parents who think their teenagers are ignoring them might be encouraged by research underway at Ohio State University.

Steve Gavazzi is co-director of OSU’s Center for Family Research. He says family factors are a powerful influence on adolescents.

Past research has shown that girls are more strongly influenced by family than boys. And Gavazzi says, past research has shown girls are more likely to internalize problems and become depressed or anxious than boys who are more likely to act out or externalize problems. His research focused on about 3,000 young people – most in Ohio – who were involved with the court system.

Human Development and Family Science Professor Steve Gavazzi hastens to add that the influence of family in the lives of African American adolescents cuts both ways. Research findings suggest, even as a troubled family life can be a strong negative influence, a functional family can be a powerful buffer in the life of a young person.

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