The family and youth problems with which we are concerned in this volume are created not on the basis of one person but as a product of the interaction of all family members acting as a unit. There are characteristics of individual parents that may be likely to be associated with dysfunction, however. Parents whose values fall on extreme poles of a continuum from extreme rigidity to extreme adaptability (laissez-faire) may be more likely to be abusive. We know from research (Baumrind, 1975) on parenting styles that these extreme attitudes toward parenting are not optimal. Rather, the ability to allow independence within limits is necessary. This is the authoritative style of discipline. Individual family members may demonstrate a lower level of functioning reasoning in general. Dysfunction is not limited to parents, however. Children may distinguish themselves by a tendency to display a high degree of pathology that intensifies in adolescence. Specifically, abused adolescents tend to have experienced a greater number of stressful life events and to display problems in interpersonal relationships.