Advertisement

Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 36, Issue 8, pp 1038–1047 | Cite as

Mother-Adolescent Health Communication: Are All Conversations Created Equally?

  • Tanya L. BooneEmail author
  • Eva S. Lefkowitz
Original Paper

Abstract

Fifty-two mother-adolescent dyads (mean adolescent age = 16.3) participated in an observational study of communication about health topics. The aim of the study was to examine mother-adolescent conversations about health issues—drugs/alcohol, sexuality, nutrition/exercise—to determine the extent to which the mothers treat these issues similarly. Across conversations, mothers spent more time asking questions than lecturing or discussing negative consequences. Mothers discussed negative consequences less in the nutrition/exercise and sexuality conversations than in the drug/alcohol conversation. Mothers asked fewer questions when discussing nutrition/exercise than drugs/alcohol, and lectured more in the nutrition/exercise conversation than in the sexuality conversation. The results of this study have implications for intervention programmers advocating in the media that parents “talk to your kids” about these health issues.

Keywords

Parent-adolescent interaction Communication Health Sexuality Drug/alcohol 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by an Individual National Research Service Award #MH63597 to Tanya Boone. We are grateful to Ryan Howell for his statistical consultation, and to Carrie Duermier, Heather Duran, Nicole Pierucci-Morgan, Tamara Ritter, Katrina Rodzon, and Bethany Zoeller for their help with data coding. We also thank the mothers and adolescents who participated in this study.

References

  1. Barber BK (1992) Family, personality, and adolescent problem behaviors. J Marriage Fam 54:69–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baumrind D (1991) The influence of parenting style on adolescent competence and substance use. J Early Adolesc 11:57–95Google Scholar
  3. Bearman SK, Presnell K, Martinez E, Stice E (2006) The skinny on body dissatisfaction: A longitudinal study of adolescent girls and boys. J Youth Adolesc 35:229–241CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Catalano RF, Kosterman R, Hawkins JD, Newcomb MD (1996) Modeling the etiology of adolescent substance use: A test of the Social Development Model. J Drug Issues 26:429–455PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Davison KK, Cutting TM, Birch LL (2003) Parents’ activity-related parenting practices predict girls’ physical activity. Med Sci Sports Exerc 35:1589–1595PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. DiIorio C, Kelley M, Hockenberry-Eaton M (1999) Communication about sexual issues: Mothers, fathers, and friends. J Adolesc Health 24:181–189PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ennett ST, Bauman KE, Foshee VA, Pemberton M, Hicks KA (2001) Parent-child communication about adolescent tobacco and alcohol use: What do parents say and does it affect youth behavior? J Marriage Fam 63:48–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Fisher TD (1986) Parent-child communication about sex and young adolescents’ sexual knowledge and attitudes. Adolescence 21:517–527PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Fisher TD (1987) Family communication and the sexual behavior and attitudes of college students. J Youth Adolesc 16:481–495PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Forsander GA, Sundelin J, Perrson B (2000) Influence of the initial management regimen and family social situation on glycemic control and medical care in children with type 1 diabetes mellitus. Acta Paediatrics 89:1462–1468CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Hanna KM, Juarez B, Lenss SS, Guthrie D (2003) Parent-adolescent communication and support for diabetes management as reported by adolescents with type 1 diabetes. Issues Compr Pediatr Nurs 26:145–158PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Hanson CL, DeGuire MJ, Schinkel AM, Kolterman OG (1995) Empirical validation for a family-centered model of care. Diabetes Care 18:1347–1356PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kafka R, London P (1991) Communication in relationships and adolescent substance use: The influence of parents and friends. Adolescence 26:587–598PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Karofsky P, Zeng L, Kosorok MR (2000) Relationship between adolescent-parental communication and initiation of first intercourse by adolescents. J Adolesc Health 28:41–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kelly KJ, Comello MLG, Hunn LCP (2002) Parent-child communication, perceived sanctions against drug use, and youth drug involvement. Adolescence 37:775–787PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Kotchick BA, Dorsey S, Miller KS, Forehand R (1999) Adolescent sexual risk-taking behavior in single-parent ethnic minority families. J Fam Psychol 13:93–102CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Larson R, Richards MH, Moneta G (1996) Changes in adolescents’ daily interactions with their families from ages 10 to 18: Disengagement and transformation. Dev Psychol 32:744–754CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Lefkowitz ES, Boone TL, Au TK, Sigman M (2003) No sex or safe sex? Mothers’ and adolescents’ discussions about abstinence and safer sex. Health Educ Res 18:341–351PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Lefkowitz ES, Boone TL, Sigman M, Au TK (2002) He said, she said: Gender differences in mother-adolescent conversations about sexuality. J Res Adolesc 12:217–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lefkowitz ES, Kahlbaugh PE, Sigman MD (1996) Turn-taking in mother-adolescent conversations about sexuality and conflict. J Youth Adolesc 25:307–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Lefkowitz ES, Romo LF, Corona R, Au TK, Sigman M (2000a) How Latino American and European American adolescents discuss conflicts, sexuality, and AIDS with their mothers. Dev Psychol 36:315–325PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lefkowitz ES, Sigman M, Au TK (2000b) Helping mothers discuss sexuality and AIDS with adolescents. Child Dev 71:1383–1394PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Leland NL, Barth RP (1993) Characteristics of adolescents who have attempted to avoid HIV and who have communicated with parents about sex. J Adolesc Res 8:58–76CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. McHale SM, Corneal DA, Crouter AC, Birch LL (2001) Gender and weight concerns in early and middle adolescence: Links with well-being and family characteristics. J Clin Child Psychol 30:338–348PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Miller KS, Levin ML, Whitaker DJ, Xu X (1998) Patterns of condom use among adolescents: The impact of mother-adolescent communication. Am J Public Health 88:1542–1544PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Miller-Day M (2002) Parent-adolescent communication about alcohol, tobacco, and other drug use. J Adolesc Res 17:604–616CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign (n.d.). Straight talk with teens. Retrieved July 13, 2005, from www.theantidrug.com
  28. Noller P, Callan VJ (1990) Adolescents’ perceptions of the nature of their communication with parents. J Youth Adolesc 19:349–361CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. O’Sullivan LF, Jaramillo BMS, Moreau D, Meyer-Bahlburg HFL (1999) Mother-daughter communication about sexuality in a clinical sample of Hispanic adolescent girls. Hispanic J Behav Sci 21:447–469CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Pick S, Palos PA (1995) Impact of the family on the sex lives of adolescents. Adolescence 30:667–675PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Reis J (1996) A descriptive study of African-American mother-child communication about drugs and health. J Comp Fam Stud 27:485–498Google Scholar
  32. Rosenthal DA, Feldman SS (1999) The importance of importance: The differentiated nature of parent-adolescent communication about sexuality. J Adoles 22:835–852CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rosenthal DA, Feldman SS, Edwards D (1998) Mum’s the word: Mothers’ perspectives on communication about sexuality with adolescents. J Adolesc 21:727–743PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Rozema HJ (1986) Defensive communication climate as a barrier to sex education in the home. Fam Relat 35:531–537CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sharpe TM, Killen JD, Bryson SW, Shisslak CM, Estes LS, Gray N, Crago M, Taylor CB (1998) Attachment style and weight concerns in preadolescent and adolescent girls. Int J Eat Disord 23:39–44PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Sinton MM, Birch LL (2006) Individual and sociocultural influences on pre-adolescent girls’ appearance schemas and body dissatisfaction. J Youth Adolesc 35:165–175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Whalen CK, Henker B, Hollingshead J, Burgess S (1996) Parent-adolescent dialogues about AIDS. J Fam Psychol 10:343–357CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Wdowik MJ, Kendall PA, Harris MA, Auld G (2001) Expanded Health Belief Model predicts diabetes self-management in college students. J Nutr Educ 33:17–23PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyCalifornia State UniversityBakersfieldUSA
  2. 2.Department of Human Development and Family StudiesThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

Personalised recommendations