This project aims to address the influence of a unique parenting behavior ? indulgent parenting ? on adolescents? well-being, which is highly relevant to the NICHD?s mission of promoting adolescent development. As the current culture of the U.S. promotes parental indulgence, indulgent parenting may play a critical role in accounting for the current health problems among adolescents. Despite the prevalence of such parenting practice, little research exists. To fill the gap, in this project, we propose to examine the effect of indulgent parenting on the behavioral and emotional well-being of adolescents from diverse backgrounds.
Three specific aims are proposed: 1) evaluate the prevalence and degree of indulgent parenting and delineate cultural and socioeconomic variations; 2) examine the association between indulgent parenting and adolescents? behavioral and emotional problems; and 3) investigate the cognitive mechanisms linking indulgent parenting and adolescents? behavioral and emotional problems. Data will be collected from 9th to 11th grade students from two developmental schools. The unique feature of these schools is that, rather than by geographic proximity, the students are enrolled from seven counties, therefore more diverse and representative than those in local private or public schools. A total of 450 adolescents are projected to participate to fill out an online survey. In addition, their primary parents/caregivers will be invited to participate and fill out an online survey. Measures include the key variables and other demographic and background information. Various statistical modeling will be utilized. The project is significant in that it has the potential to make important theoretical contributions to the field by conceptualizing indulgent parenting as a multi-dimensional construct. Further, this project could provide much needed empirical evidence on how indulgent parenting is associated with behavioral and emotional well- being of adolescents from different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. Findings from this project could provide valuable information for preventive intervention programs for adolescents and parents. In addition, the project is innovative in that it could improve over previous studies in many aspects, such as using a multi-dimensional approach, examining cultural and socioeconomic variations with a cultural ecological perspective, collecting data from multiple informants, and using advanced statistical techniques. The team is capable to accomplish the field work and do the science. This project could serve as a necessary first step to establish basic knowledge for future studies, such as the studies of the long-term effects of indulgent parenting into young adulthood and cross-cultural phenomenon of such parenting practice and their implications.

Public Health Relevance

Indulgent parenting may play a critical role in accounting for the current health problems among adolescents. The goal of this project is to empirically evaluate the association between indulgent parenting and behavioral and emotional problems of adolescents from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. Recognizing parental indulgence as a potential risk factor for adolescent development can provide empirical evidence that might be used to develop intervention and prevention programs designed to promote parenting practices that are likely to facilitate positive adolescent development.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Small Research Grants (R03)
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National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Initial Review Group (CHHD)
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Esposito, Layla E
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Florida State University
Other Health Professions
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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