Poverty and InequalitySexual and Reproductive HealthFamily, Maternal & Child HealthMethodology

Enduring consequences of parenting for risk behaviors from adolescence into early adulthood

TitleEnduring consequences of parenting for risk behaviors from adolescence into early adulthood
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsRoche, KM, Ahmed, S, Blum, RW
JournalSocial science & medicine (1982)
Date PublishedMay
ISBN Number0277-9536; 0277-9536
Accession Number18308437
KeywordsAdolescent, Adolescent Behavior, Adult, Child, Family Relations, Health Behavior, Humans, Parenting/psychology, Risk-Taking, Sex Factors

Few studies examine the long-term consequences of family socialization experienced during early adolescence for the health and well being of young adults. This study investigates how two salient dimensions of family socialization--family closeness and parental behavioral control--are associated with three distinct risk-taking behaviors in early adulthood: problem drinking, early school dropout and multiple sex partners. Data from the US National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health are analyzed for a sample of over 1500 youth interviewed at three time points (Time 1: ages 12-14 years; Time 2: ages 13-15 years; Time 3: ages 19-21 years). Structural equation modeling techniques were used to identify direct and indirect effects of family closeness and parental behavioral control on problem behaviors among young adults. Indirect effects of family socialization were hypothesized to operate through a delayed onset of risky behaviors in adolescence. Results for females indicated that greater family closeness in early adolescence was directly and indirectly, through less adolescent truancy, associated with less school dropout in young adulthood. Family closeness was also directly associated with less early onset of sex and with fewer sex partners among females. Among males, greater parental behavioral control was directly associated with less problem drinking in young adulthood. Additionally, parental control and family closeness were each associated with males having fewer sex partners in early adulthood. Overall, findings support the strategy of family-focused interventions that stress the importance close relationships for females and of instrumental control for males.