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
Parkes A, Sweeting H, Wight D. Growing up in Scotland: family and school influences on children’s social and emotional well-being. Edinburgh, 2014open access
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
Parkes A, Sweeting H, Wight D. Growing up in Scotland: overweight, obesity and activity - Main Report. Edinburgh, 2012open access
Parkes A, Sweeting H, Wight D. Growing up in Scotland: overweight, obesity and activity - Research Findings no. 4. Edinburgh, 2012open access
Parkes A, Sweeting H, Wight D. Growing up in Scotland: overweight, obesity and activity - Technical Appendix. Edinburgh, 2012open access
Parkes A, Wight D. Growing up in Scotland: parenting and children's health - Main Report. Edinburgh, 2011open 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, 2011open access
Parkes A, Wight D. Growing up in Scotland: parenting and children's health - Technical Appendix. Edinburgh, 2011open access