Faculty Advisor

Jocelyn Smith Carter


The current literature examines the influence of family relationship (i.e., cohesion, organization, and support) and achievement goals (i.e., mastery, approach, & avoid) on conduct problems in children and adolescents. Further research is needed to examine these relationships to understand how to strengthen achievement goals and family relationships. Accordingly, the current study examines effects of family relationships and achievement goals on conduct problems, and whether either of the variables can moderate these effects. The researchers examined these relations in a sample of 397 youth ages 12-16 (47% female, 11% male, and 36% who did not specify their gender). Participants and their parents completed two surveys, nine months apart. The survey included a self-report measure of conduct problems, and a child behavior measure for the parents to report on their child. Results indicated that family cohesion is associated with conduct problems. Additionally, mastery achievement goals appeared to moderate the association between family cohesion and conduct problems, such that at low levels of mastery achievement goals, family cohesion was associated more with conduct problems. Family cohesion was uniquely associated with conduct problems and no other family relationship or achievement goal variables. Additionally, results of the current study contribute to the literature by suggesting conduct problems are associated with family cohesion when mastery achievement goals are low.