Longitudinal Associations Between Parent-Teen Relationship Quality And Adult Health Outcomes: A Review of Add Health Data


Pool, Andrew C. & Ford, Carol A. (2019). Longitudinal Associations Between Parent-Teen Relationship Quality And Adult Health Outcomes: A Review of Add Health Data. Psychological Well-Being: International Transcultural Perspectives. Washington, DC: Journal of Adolescent Health.


To conduct a systematized review of longitudinal findings from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) dataset on associations between parent-teen relationship quality measured at Wave 1 or 2 and adult health outcomes measured at Wave 2, 3, or 4, including mental health, violent delinquency, sex behaviors, substance use, and physical health. Methods Add Health began in 1995 and is a longitudinal study of approximately 20,000 adolescents across the United States who are being followed into adulthood. Wave 4 data collection occurred in 2008. Add Health provides a unique dataset to examine parent-teen relationship characteristics and long-term outcomes across different health outcomes that is generalizable to adolescents in the US. The Add Health publications database was searched in June 2017 using terms such as “family connectedness” and “parent closeness”. Supplemental searches were conducted in PubMed and Scopus using the same search terms. Two researchers reviewed studies for eligibility. To be eligible, Add Health studies had to report longitudinal outcomes in English, peer-reviewed journals. Results 93 studies were deemed eligible for inclusion. Items used to measure parent-teen relationship quality were highly variable across studies. For this review, measures were categorized as parental warmth, parental monitoring, parental involvement, parental communication, and parenting style. Consistent significant and robust findings were reported across studies linking quality of parent-teen relationship to mental health, including depressive symptoms, suicidal ideology and attempts, and self-esteem. High parental warmth, monitoring, and involvement during adolescence are all longitudinally associated with positive outcomes on these measures of mental health. There was a strong relationship between greater parental warmth and lower levels of violent delinquency in adulthood. However, there was not a clear linkage between parental monitoring or involvement and violent delinquency. A majority of studies demonstrated that greater parental warmth, monitoring, and communication about sex during adolescence were significantly associated with healthier sex behaviors later in life. Greater parental warmth and monitoring were also prospectively linked with lower risk of substance abuse. In studies of physical health, there was a trend towards parent-teen relationship quality leading to positive longitudinal outcomes, including decreased odds of cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome risk and increased levels of physical activity. The findings were mixed when researchers examined parenting styles and these health outcomes. Conclusions Greater parental warmth, monitoring, involvement, and communication during adolescence have significant prospective linkages with adult health outcomes. Overall, the findings suggest that parent-teen relationship characteristics have robust effects on longitudinal health. These results need to be confirmed in future studies using consistent measures of parent-teen relationship quality, which can inform interventions to promote parent-teen relationships in a way that leads to long-term health benefits.



Reference Type

Conference proceeding

Book Title

Psychological Well-Being: International Transcultural Perspectives


Pool, Andrew C.
Ford, Carol A.

Year Published


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Journal of Adolescent Health

City of Publication

Washington, DC







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