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Parental perspectives on negotiations over diet and physical activity: how do we involve parents in adolescent health interventions?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 February 2021

Sarah Shaw*
Affiliation:
MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Southampton, UK
Sara Correia Simao
Affiliation:
MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Southampton, UK
Sarah Jenner
Affiliation:
MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK
Wendy T Lawrence
Affiliation:
MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Southampton, UK
Kathryn Woods-Townsend
Affiliation:
NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Southampton, UK Southampton Education School, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
Christina A Vogel
Affiliation:
MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Southampton, UK
David Farrell
Affiliation:
NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Southampton, UK School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment, Glasgow Caledonian University, Glasgow, UK
Hazel Inskip
Affiliation:
MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Southampton, UK
Janis Baird
Affiliation:
MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Southampton, UK
Leanne Morrison
Affiliation:
Centre for Clinical and Community Applications of Health Psychology, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK Primary Care and Population Sciences, University of Southampton, Southampton, UK
Mary Barker
Affiliation:
MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Southampton, UK
Sofia T Strömmer
Affiliation:
MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, Southampton General Hospital, Southampton SO16 6YD, UK NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Centre, University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, Southampton, UK
*Corresponding
*Corresponding author: Email ss@mrc.soton.ac.uk

Abstract

Objective:

To identify the ways in which parental involvement can be incorporated into interventions to support adolescent health behaviour change.

Design:

Data from semi-structured interviews were analysed using inductive thematic analysis.

Setting:

Southampton, Hampshire, UK.

Participants:

A convenience sample of twenty-four parents of adolescents.

Results:

Parents consider themselves to play an important role in supporting their adolescents to make healthy choices. Parents saw themselves as gatekeepers of the household and as role models to their adolescents but recognised this could be both positive and negative in terms of health behaviours. Parents described the changing dynamics of the relationships they have with their adolescents because of increased adolescent autonomy. Parents stated that these changes altered their level of influence over adolescents’ health behaviours. Parents considered it important to promote independence in their adolescents; however, many described this as challenging because they believed their adolescents were likely to make unhealthy decisions if not given guidance. Parents reported difficulty in supporting adolescents in a way that was not viewed as forceful or pressuring.

Conclusions:

When designing adolescent health interventions that include parental components, researchers need to be aware of the disconnect between public health recommendations and the everyday reality for adolescents and their parents. Parental involvement in adolescent interventions could be helpful but needs to be done in a manner that is acceptable to both adolescents and parents. The findings of this study may be useful to inform interventions which need to consider the transitions and negotiations which are common in homes containing adolescents.

Type
Research paper
Copyright
© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of The Nutrition Society

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