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Parental influence on adolescent risk behaviours: a strategy to empower parents
  1. P Groff,
  2. J Morrish,
  3. V Smith
  1. Parachute, Canada


    Background Adolescence is a developmental period marked by a rise in risk-taking, injury and mortality rates. Mortality rates increase by 200% during this developmental period. This rise has been related to adolescents' increased involvement in maladaptive risk-taking (eg, risky driving). Research highlights the importance of teenagers' parents in the risk decisions they make.

    Aims/Objectives/Purpose In order to deepen the understanding of parental influence on risk-taking, Parachute, sponsored by State Farm Insurance, conducted an in-depth study and has begun developing parent programming.

    Methods An extensive literature review revealed that parents have more influence than they may be aware of. A Canada-wide survey was conducted on 300 parents (76 males, 224 females) and their 300 teenagers (150 males, 148 females) to test the theories emerging from the literature review. Parent and child responses to these surveys were compared using paired-samples t tests and regression analyses.

    Results/Outcome Analyses demonstrated significant relationships between parental variables and levels of parental influence. In fact, regression analyses revealed that a child's perception of their parent's risk-taking behaviours significantly predicted 30% of the variability in their risk-taking frequencies.

    Significance/Contribution to the Field Overall, it was found that Canadian parents have a great deal of influence over their children's risk-taking, through their behaviours and home environments. These results support the need to work with parents around their influence over their teens' behaviours. Parachute has begun developing parent programming to engage and empower parents around becoming the most positive influence possible, aiding in the long-term reduction of injuries and deaths.

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