Online Program

Parent-child connectedness and school-related problem behaviors in middle childhood

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Samantha Goldfarb, MPH, School of Public Health, Department Health Care Organization and Policy, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Bisakha Sen, PhD, School of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Background: Family connectedness appears to be a powerful protective factor against adverse behaviors among children, but most research is limited to adolescents. We add to the literature by exploring associations between parent-child connectedness and school-related problem (SRP) behaviors in middle childhood.

Methods: The data are drawn from the National Survey of Children's Health, 2007. Inclusion criteria are children from ages 6-12 who attend public/private school, whose biological mothers are present. The dependent variable is SRP behaviors, defined as any time the school contacted the parent about a problem the child was having in school. The independent variable is quality of parent-child connectedness, measured through: emotional communication; attend child's events; share family meals; met child's friends; child's time alone.

Results: Separate analyses are conducted for children 6-9 years, and 10-12 years. Multivariate logistic regression models are estimated for any SRP. Results are presented as ‘marginal effects'. Connectedness dimensions of not sharing ideas well, not attending events, and not meeting friends are significantly associated with any SRP for both younger (ME: 0.550, 0.296, 0.119, respectively; p<.05) and older (ME: 0.075, 0.440, 0.057, respectively; p<.05) children. For those with a SRP, linear models are estimated for the frequency of SRPs. Mothers who don't share ideas well with the child list an average of 10.46 more SRPs for younger (p<.05) and 0.80 more for older (p<.05) children.

Conclusion: This study establishes associations between certain mother-child connectedness factors and SRPs among children. It suggests efforts to maintain mother-child connectedness may protect children against problem behaviors.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the association between certain parent-child connectedness factors and the probability of school-reported problems in middle childhood. Explain the association between certain parent-child connectedness factors and the frequency of school-reported problems in middle childhood among those who have them.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: This study was conducted through a doctoral-level independent study course with Dr. Bisakha Sen. One of my research interests concerns the association between family connectedness and the behavior of children and youth with special health care needs.
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.