Influence of Parental Reactions to Illness Behaviour in Childhood on Adolescent Health-related Decision-making
M. Martin1, K. Clarke2, C.N.G. Dawes3
1University of Oxford, Department of Experimental Psychology, United Kingdom
2University of Oxford, Department of Experimental Psychology, United Kingdom
3London School of Economics, Department of Media and Communications, United Kingdom
Background: It is unclear to what extent health-related decision-making in adolescence is influenced across a range of measures and illnesses by earlier parental reactions to illness behaviour in the child. Methods: 247 Participants, M = 16.8 years (SD = 0.5). Illness decision measures included visits to GPs, reported levels of illness disruption and vulnerability, and treatment-seeking scenarios for rash, urinary problems, and anxiety. Parental Reactions to Childhood Illness Behaviour (PRCIB) were assessed as in Crane and Martin (P&ID, 2002). Findings: Higher levels of PRCIB led to increased levels of GP visits, illness disruption and vulnerability. Examining levels of treatment-seeking, regression analysis showed PRCIB to be significant even after HADS depression and anxiety, sex and age had been extracted; compared to NHS guidelines, mean responses under-reacted to rash and urinary problems and over-reacted to anxiety. Discussion: Adolescents differed systematically in health-related decision-making as a function of childhood experience, with normative levels both exceeded and fallen short of in different areas, suggesting the need for targeted health education.