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Adolescent Health Risk Behaviors: Parental Concern and Concordance Between Parent and Adolescent Reports.

Acad Pediatr; 2017 Sep 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28870652


We investigated which adolescent health risk behaviors are of concern to parents generally, according to adolescent age, gender, and in the context of perceived risk. We compared adolescent and parent reports of the presence of health-risk behaviors and factors predicting agreement.


Three hundred adolescents aged 13 to 18 years (mean, 14.5 years; 52% female) who presenting for well care completed an electronic screening tool used to assess health-risk behaviors. Parents completed parallel measures of their child's behavior and parental concern. Adolescent and parent reports were compared using McNemar test. Hierarchical linear regression was used to examine predictors of agreement.


High parental concern was most commonly reported for screen time and diet. When parents identified their adolescent as at-risk, high parental concern was near universal for mental health but less commonly reported for substance use. There were no differences in parental concern according to adolescent gender. Parents of older adolescents expressed more concern regarding physical activity and alcohol. Compared with adolescents, parents were more likely to report risk regarding anxiety, fruit and vegetable consumption, and physical activity, and less likely to report risk regarding screen time, sleep, and marijuana use. Younger adolescent age and higher family relationship quality were predictive of stronger parent-adolescent agreement.


Parents in well-care visits commonly have concerns about adolescent lifestyle behaviors. Although parents are more likely to report concern when they know about a behavior, parental concern is not always aligned with parental awareness of risk, particularly for substance use. Parent report of higher prevalence of some risk behaviors suggests their input might assist in risk identification.