200256 He Loves Me, She Loves Me Not: Does the Love of a Parent Really Matter? The Effects of Parental Warmth On the Risk Behavior of Adolescents Living In Poverty

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cheri Nicolette Holmes, MPH , Department of Health Behavior, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
John Bolland, PhD , College of Human & Environmental Services, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Brad Lian, PhD , College of Human & Environmental Services, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Positive adolescent outcomes have been associated with parental warmth. Adolescents who experience positive relationships with their father have positive behavioral outcomes and a mother's warmth has positively impacted adolescent females' sexual behaviors. The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of parental warmth on the behaviors of adolescents living in impoverished neighborhoods This study will capitalize on the Mobile Youth Survey (MYS), a 12-year study being conducted in youth who live in social disadvantaged areas in Mobile and Prichard Alabama, with 99% of MYS participants identifying as African-American or biracial (N=~8,000). The MYS is a community-based, multiple cohort longitudinal study that includes annual data collection. The survey is administered to youth ages 10-18 years of age. The MYS has been conducted yearly since 1998 and attempts to follow every participant until they turn 19 years old. Using data from 1998-2006, hierarchial linear modeling showed that maternal warmth was positively related to condom use (p=0.0206), adult expectations (p<0.0001), positive marital expectations (p<0.0001), and self-worth (p=0.0014); and negatively related to substance abuse (i.e. marijuana use: p=0.0079), violent behaviors (i.e. gang involvement: p=0.0097), and hopelessness (p<0.0001). Paternal warmth was positively related positive marital expectations (p=0.0063) and self worth (p<0.0001); and negatively related to alcohol use (p=0.0014), crack use (p=0.0367), unwanted sexual intercourse (p=0.0364), hopelessness (p=0.0193), and knife carrying (p=0.0311). The analysis shows that paternal and maternal warmth has a positive impact on reducing adolescent risk behavior. Therefore, future interventions targeting adolescent risk behaviors should also target healthy adolescent and parental interaction.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify the issues faced by adolescents living in impoverished neighborhoods. 2. Describe how the adolescent relationship with a mother or father figure (parental warmth) affects psychosocial variables and risky behaviors in adolescents living and growing up in impoverished neighborhoods. 3. Discuss the implications of maternal or paternal warmth to adolescents living and growing up in impoverished neighborhoods.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Family Involvement

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I participated in the Summer 2007 as a research interviewer for the Mobile Youth Survey. I also conducted the preliminary analysis for this abstract and wrote the abstract. I have a MPH in Epidemiology and International Health and have presented on the MYS before at APHA.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.