Parenting styles moderate how parent and adolescent beliefs shape each other's eating and physical activity: Dyadic evidence from a cross-sectional, U.S. National Survey

Richie L. Lenne, Keven Joyal-Desmarais, Rachael E. Jones, Chloe O. Huelsnitz, Mary E. Panos, Lisa A. Auster-Gussman, William F. Johnson, Alexander J Rothman, Jeff Simpson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Psychological theories of health behavior focus on intrapersonal influences on behavior. Greater attention to interpersonal effects and the relational contexts that regulate them has the potential to improve theory, and offer innovative strategies for intervention. This research takes a dyadic approach to understanding how parent and adolescent beliefs influence each other's health behaviors, and how the relationship context of parent-adolescent dyads moderates these effects. Using the Family Life, Activity, Sun, Health, and Eating study (FLASHE), we analyze responses from 1717 parent-adolescent dyads from across the U.S., and explore a dyadic extension to the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB). We evaluate how parenting styles that characterize each parent-adolescent dyad moderate the degree to which parents’ and adolescents’ own attitudes, subjective norms, and perceived behavioral control are associated with the other person's behaviors across four domains: fruit and vegetable consumption, junk food and sugary drinks consumption, engagement in physical activity, and engagement in screen time sedentary behaviors. We find that the association between parents’ attitudes, social norms, and perceived behavioral control and their adolescent's eating behavior tends to be stronger when parents have an authoritative parenting style. However, we also find that the association between adolescents’ attitudes, social norms, and perceived behavioral control and their parent's eating behavior tends to be stronger when parents have an authoritative parenting style. These findings show the importance of context in evaluating interpersonal influence, and hold implications for health-relevant interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)76-84
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Volume81
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
All authors contributed to the development of research questions and interpretation of findings. KJ and RLL organized and prepared these data for analysis with assistance from RJ, COH, MP, LAA, and WJ. RLL and KJ conducted the analysis. RLL and KJ wrote the initial version of the manuscript with support from AJR and JAS; RJ, COH, MP, LAA, and WJ provided substantive feedback on the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript. This research was supported by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada doctoral fellowship to KJD. Data for this research come from the FLASHE Study, which was funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) under contract number HHSN261201200039I issued to Westat, Inc.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Inc.

Keywords

  • Dyadic models of health behavior
  • Health behavior
  • Parent-adolescent relationships
  • Parenting styles
  • Theory of Planned Behavior

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