We explored how varying parenting practices might be related to adolescents and their parents’ perceived adolescent susceptibility toward high-risk health behaviors.
A mixed-methods study was conducted with 31 Chinese/Taiwanese American, African American, and European American parent-adolescent dyads/triads. Two rounds of interviews (a total of 148) were undertaken with 78 participants 4–6 months apart to understand parental strategies in protecting their adolescents from risky health behaviors. The Parenting Style questionnaires were administered to the parent/s to examine the congruence with parenting practices reported in qualitative interviews. Findings of interviews and Perception of Adolescent Health Risks questionnaires were synthesized to gain a better understanding about the relationship between parenting practices and participants’ perceived adolescent susceptibility toward high-risk health behaviors. Qualitative results were used to help understand and clarify the quantitative results.
Our results indicated that diverse parents’ parenting practices were influenced by their situational and historical experiences as well as their cultural and religious beliefs. Health-related parenting (i.e., when and how to intervene) were related to parents’ perceived susceptibility of adolescents’ health risks.
Consistent with the literature, a permissive parenting style was associated with low perceived susceptibility to health risks. Authoritarian or authoritative parenting styles, however, were not significantly related to health risk perception. Furthermore, the Parenting Style measure seemed to not fully capture diverse families’ parenting practices reported in the qualitative results. Future research needs to incorporate influences stemming from families’ situational, historical, cultural, and religious experiences.