Abstract: Concordance of Parent-Child Communication about Healthy Relationship Skills (Society for Prevention Research 27th Annual Meeting)

38 Concordance of Parent-Child Communication about Healthy Relationship Skills

Tuesday, May 28, 2019
Pacific D/L (Hyatt Regency San Francisco)
* noted as presenting author
Hannah Doucette, MA, Doctoral Student, Northeastern University, Boston, MA
Madeline Manning, MA, Research Assistant, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, RI
Erik Hood, MS, Doctoral Student, Northeastern University, Boston, MA
Kelsey Bala, BS, Research Assistant, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, RI
Christopher D. Houck, PhD, Associate Professor/ Staff Psychologist, Brown University, Providence, RI
Christie J. Rizzo, PhD, Associate Professor, Northeastern University, Boston, MA
Introduction: Parents are known to be influential in preventing and reducing adolescent engagement in risk behavior (Lightfoot, 2012). However, parents’ and teens’ report of parenting strategies and teen engagement in risk behavior are often discordant (De Los Reyes, et al., 2015; Foshee et al., 2012). Discordance between parents and teens is informative as it highlights future target areas to enhance parent-based prevention efforts. Recent approaches to prevent adolescent dating violence (ADV) include prompting parents to engage in open communication about dating and ADV with their teen (Foshee et al., 2012). However, little is known about whether parents’ efforts to engage in these conversations are well received by their teen. Assessing concordance between parents and teens regarding the occurrence of these conversations will provide initial insight into whether parents’ existing communication strategies about dating and ADV are effective.

Methods: Participants were 120 parent-son dyads recruited as part of a larger prevention program study. The dyads were recruited from middle schools within the Northeastern region of the U.S. Dyads completed an adapted version of the Miller Sexual Communication Scale (Miller et al., 1998). Dyads were concordant if both parent and teen endorsed that a conversation on a given topic occurred. Dyads were discordant if either the parent or teen endorsed that a conversation on a given topic occurred whereas the other did not. Dyads also could agree that a conversation on a topic did not occur.

Results: Dyad concordance, discordance, and denial of parent-child conversations for the following topics were observed: when it is appropriate to start having sex (26.9%, 44.5%, 28.6%, respectively), how to handle problems in relationships (39.5%, 37.8%, 22.7%, respectively), how to manage emotions (61.3%, 31.9%, 6.7%, respectively), how to communicate via technology (56.4%, 40.2%, 3.4%, respectively), values on dating and sex (15.1%, 47.9%, 37%, respectively), how to choose a dating partner (5%, 28.6%, 66.4%, respectively), and sexual health knowledge (35.3%, 31.1%, 33.6%, respectively). Among dyads with discordant report, parents tended to report that the conversation occurred, whereas the teen reported it did not. The percentage of dyads for whom the parent reported the conversation occurred while the teen did not ranged from 55.5% to 84.2% across all conversation topics.

Discussion: Our findings suggest that it is important to gather both parent and teen perspectives when inquiring about parent-child communication. Furthermore, frequent discordance in report of communication suggests that parents can benefit from training in positive communication skills to facilitate more explicit and clear communication with their teen.