Teen Conflicts Spill Over to Other Areas of Their Lives

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THURSDAY, Oct. 23, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Teens' conflicts at home increase the risk of problems at school for up to two days, according to a new study.

The research also found that the reverse is true: school problems can create issues at home.

Additionally, the study found that bad mood and mental health symptoms such as depression and anxiety are important factors in what's referred to as "spillover effect."

Problems that can spill over between home and school include arguments between teens and their parents, skipping class, not completing assignments, difficulty understanding school work, and doing poorly on a quiz or test, the University of Southern California researchers explained.

For example, failing a test could cause a teen to be irritable, which in turn could lead to an argument with parents.

The researchers also found that teens with more symptoms of anxiety and depression were more likely to be in a bad mood after arguing with their parents.

The study included more than 100 teens, ages 13 to 17, and their parents. The participants completed questionnaires at the end of each day for 14 days. The findings appear in the journal Child Development.

"Spillover processes have been recognized, but are not well understood," Adela Timmons, a doctoral student, and Gayla Margolin, professor of psychology, wrote. "Evidence of spillover for as long as two days suggests that some teens get caught in a reverberating cycle of negative events."

They said their findings could be used to find ways to help teens better handle bad moods and to improve their family relationships and how they do in school.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about teens' emotional health.