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Day-to-Day Inconsistency in Parent Knowledge: Links with Youth Health and Parents’ Stress
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Details:
  • Pubmed ID:
    25703318
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC4338414
  • Funding:
    U01 AG027669/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States
    U01 HD051217/HD/NICHD NIH HHS/United States
    U01 HD051218/HD/NICHD NIH HHS/United States
    U01 HD051256/HD/NICHD NIH HHS/United States
    U01 HD051276/HD/NICHD NIH HHS/United States
    U01 HD059773/HD/NICHD NIH HHS/United States
    U01AG027669/AG/NIA NIH HHS/United States
    U01HD051217/HD/NICHD NIH HHS/United States
    U01HD051218/HD/NICHD NIH HHS/United States
    U01HD051256/HD/NICHD NIH HHS/United States
    U01HD051276/HD/NICHD NIH HHS/United States
    U01HD059773/HD/NICHD NIH HHS/United States
    U01OH008788/OH/NIOSH CDC HHS/United States
  • Document Type:
  • Collection(s):
  • Description:
    Purpose

    Considerable evidence documents the linkages between higher levels of parental knowledge about youth activities and positive youth outcomes. This study investigated how day-to-day inconsistency in parental knowledge of youth activities was linked to youth behavioral, psychological, and physical health as well as parents’ stress.

    Methods

    Participants were employees in the Information Technology division of a Fortune 500 company and their children (N =129, Mean age youth = 13.39 years, 55% female). Data were collected from parents and youth via separate workplace and in-home surveys as well as telephone diary surveys on 8 consecutive evenings. We assessed day-to-day inconsistency in parental knowledge across these eight calls.

    Results

    Parents differed in their knowledge from day to day almost as much as their average knowledge scores differed from those of other parents. Controlling for mean levels of knowledge, youth whose parents exhibited more knowledge inconsistency reported more physical health symptoms (e.g., colds, flu). Knowledge inconsistency was also associated with more risky behavior for girls but greater psychological well-being for older adolescents. Parents who reported more stressors also had higher knowledge inconsistency.

    Conclusions

    Assessing only average levels of parental knowledge does not fully capture how this parenting dimension is associated with youth health. Consistent knowledge may promote youth physical health and less risky behavior for girls. Yet knowledge inconsistency also may reflect normative increases in autonomy as it was positively associated with psychological well-being for older adolescents. Given the linkages between parental stress and knowledge inconsistency, parent interventions should include stress-management components.