Journal of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 204–216 | Cite as

Aspects of the parent–child relationship and parent metabolic outcomes

  • Emily J. JonesEmail author
  • Edith Chen
  • Cynthia S. Levine
  • Phoebe H. Lam
  • Vivian Y. Liu
  • Hannah M. C. Schreier


Much is known about the effect of parent–child relationships on child health; less is known about how parent–child relationships influence parent health. To assess the association between aspects of the parent–child relationship and parent metabolic outcomes, and whether these associations are moderated by parent gender. Five metabolic outcomes (systolic and diastolic blood pressure, heart rate, total cholesterol and glycated hemoglobin) were assessed among 261 parents (45.83 ± 5.50 years) of an adolescent child (14.57 ± 1.072 years). Parents completed questionnaires assessing their child’s hassles and the quality of their days with their child. Parents’ perceptions of their child’s hassles were associated with parent heart rate (B = 2.954, SE = 1.267, p = 0.021) and cholesterol (B = 0.028, SE = 0.011, p = 0.010), such that greater perceived child hassles were associated with higher heart rate and cholesterol levels, on average. These associations were not moderated by parent gender (all ps > 0.30). Parent report of their day with their child was not associated with parent metabolic outcomes (all ps > 0.20). Parent gender moderated the association between parent report of their day with their child and parent systolic blood pressure (B = 13.861, SE = 6.200, p = 0.026), such that less positive reports were associated with higher blood pressure readings among fathers, but not mothers. This study suggests that parent metabolic health may in part be influenced by aspects of the parent–child relationship.


Parent–child relationship Interpersonal relationships Metabolic outcomes Parents Adolescents Perceived hassles 



Funding received by Dr. Edith Chen by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Grant FRN: 97872.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Emily J. Jones, Edith Chen, Cynthia S. Levine, Phoebe H. Lam, Vivian Y. Liu, and Hannah M. C. Schreier declares that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and animal rights and Informed consent

All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the University of British Columbia and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Emily J. Jones
    • 1
    Email author
  • Edith Chen
    • 2
    • 3
  • Cynthia S. Levine
    • 2
    • 3
  • Phoebe H. Lam
    • 2
  • Vivian Y. Liu
    • 2
  • Hannah M. C. Schreier
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biobehavioral HealthThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA
  3. 3.Institute for Policy ResearchNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonUSA

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