From February 2017, information about the work of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow is available and updated on the University of Glasgow website.

Parent-young child relationships

Parenting may affect children's physical and mental health, and influence children's health-related behaviours.

Several projects have been conducted using the Growing Up in Scotland study.

 

Parenting and health

This study of parents with a five-year old child considered

  • Which aspects of day-to-day parenting are likely to be important for children's health and health behaviours?
  • Do variations in parenting account for social inequalities in child health outcomes?

Overweight, obesity and activity

Two main sets of possible influence on six year-old children's overweight/obesity and activity levels were considered:

  • Parental factors. These included mother's overweight and her modelling of active and sedentary behaviour; child health-related practices likely to be under the parent's control, such as children's snacking on unhealthy foods or playing outdoors; and patterns of general parenting.
  • Family and neighbourhood factors. These included socio-economic characteristics and maternal health as well as factors that might have closer link with a healthy lifestyle, such as a mother's attitudes towards a healthy lifestyle; or the provision of green spaces.

A more detailed study considered whether parenting practices help to explain emerging socio-economic inequalities in children’s BMI trajectories from pre-school years to age 7.

Parental attitudes and stress

This study of families with a ten month old child examined how parents' attitudes and domestic organisation are shaped by family circumstances and parenting support, and how all these factors may in turn affect parenting and the parent-child relationship.

We discovered a U-shaped relationship between socio-economic status and parenting stress, where greater stress was found among most and least advantaged mothers, compared to those of intermediate position. This has led to more detailed work on possible support deficits that may help to explain this variation in stress.

Family and school influences on children’s social and emotional well-being

Possible influences on seven year old children’s behavioural and emotional difficulties, and on their subjective well-being, were explored. These included the role of child, maternal and household characteristics, parenting behaviours, school experiences, friendships, leisure activities, and materialistic attitudes.

More detailed work will explore

  • longitudinal influences on different aspects of subjective well-being
  • different trajectories of internalising problems over the transition to primary school, and how these are correlated with family and school experiences

 

Publications

2014

Parkes A, Sweeting H, Wight D. Growing up in Scotland: family and school influences on children’s social and emotional well-being. Edinburgh, 2014

open access  

2013

Parkes A, Sweeting H, Wight D. Parenting. In: Growing up in Scotland: Birth Cohort 2. Results from the First Year. Edinburgh: Scottish Government, 2013:118-142.

open access  

2012

Parkes A, Sweeting H, Wight D. Growing up in Scotland: overweight, obesity and activity - Main Report. Edinburgh, 2012

open access  

Parkes A, Sweeting H, Wight D. Growing up in Scotland: overweight, obesity and activity - Research Findings no. 4. Edinburgh, 2012

open access  

Parkes A, Sweeting H, Wight D. Growing up in Scotland: overweight, obesity and activity - Technical Appendix. Edinburgh, 2012

open access  

2011

Parkes A, Wight D. Growing up in Scotland: parenting and children's health - Main Report. Edinburgh, 2011

open access  

Parkes A, Wight D. Growing up in Scotland: parenting and children's health - Research Findings no.3/2011. Research Findings no.3/2011, Edinburgh, 2011

open access  

Parkes A, Wight D. Growing up in Scotland: parenting and children's health - Technical Appendix. Edinburgh, 2011

open access