1. Hayman, Laura L. PhD, RN, FAAN

Article Content

DiClemente, R. J., Wingood, G. M., Crosby, R., Sionean, C., Cobb, B. K., Harrington, K., Davies, S., Hook, E. W., & Oh, M. K. (2001).Pediatrics, 107 (6), 1363-1368.


Contemporary threats to adolescent health are primarily the consequence of risk behaviors and related outcomes including substance use, violence, risky sexual behavior, and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Numerous individual factors associated with adolescents' risk behaviors have been identified; recent attention has focused on understanding the impact of the family environment on adolescents' adoption and maintenance of health-compromising and protective behaviors (Jessor et al., 1998). Toward this goal, the purpose of this study was to examine the association between adolescents' perceived levels of parental monitoring and health risk behaviors including high-risk sexual behaviors, STD acquisition, antisocial behavior, violence, and substance abuse. Participants (N = 522) were sexually active black females (ages 14 to 18 yrs) from neighborhoods of low socioeconomic status. The results support and extend prior research documenting an increased prevalence of health risk behaviors among adolescents with less parental monitoring. Specifically, results indicated that adolescents perceiving less parental monitoring were more likely to test positive for an STD (odds ratio [OR]: 1.7), report not using a condom at last sexual intercourse (OR: 1.7), have multiple sexual partners in the past 6 months (OR: 2.0) and have a new sex partner in the past 30 days (OR:3.0). In addition, adolescents perceiving less parental monitoring were more likely to have a history of substance abuse (marijuana and alcohol). The results have implications for clinical practice and future research. Consistent with the authors' conclusions, nurses and other professionals working with adolescents in health and educational settings can be essential in providing risk reduction counseling that targets the individual adolescent and characteristics of the family environment including patterns of parent-adolescent communication. Additional research is needed to inform the development of family-based approaches designed to minimize maladaptive risk behaviors and promote the health of adolescents.


Comment by Laura L. Hayman


ReferenceParental Monitoring: Association With Adolescents' Risk Behaviors


1. Jessor, R., Turbin, M. S., Costa, F. M. (1998). Protective factors in adolescent health. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 788-800. [Context Link]