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J Adolesc Health. 2000 Jan;26(1):18-26.

Parental underestimates of adolescent risk behavior: a randomized, controlled trial of a parental monitoring intervention.

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Center for Minority Health Research, Department of Pediatrics, University of Maryland, Baltimore, USA.



To develop and evaluate an intervention (ImPACT) seeking to increase monitoring (supervision and communication) by parents and guardians of African-American youth regarding high risk and protective behaviors; and to develop an instrument to assess parental monitoring, the Parent-Adolescent Risk Behavior Concordance Scale.


This research was a randomized, controlled longitudinal study. Baseline (preintervention), and 2 and 6 months postintervention data were obtained via a talking MacIntosh computer regarding youth and parent perceptions of youth involvement in 10 risk behaviors, parental monitoring and youth-parent communication, and condom-use skills. Intervention parents and youth received the ImPACT program and a video emphasizing parental supervision and discussion, followed by a structured discussion and role-play emphasizing key points. Control parents and youth received an attention-control program on goal-setting, which also included an at-home video and discussion.


A total of 237 parents and one each of their youth (ages 12-16 years) recruited from eight public housing developments located in a city in the mid-Atlantic region.


Similarity of youth and parental reporting on the Parent-Adolescent Risk Behavior Concordance Scale was positively correlated with protective behaviors, perceived parental monitoring, and good parent-youth communication. At baseline, parents significantly underestimated their youth's risk behaviors. However, 2 and 6 months postintervention, the ImPACT program increased similarity of reports by youth and their parents of youth involvement in risk and protective behaviors. In addition, at 6 months postintervention, intervention (compared to control) youths and parents also demonstrated higher levels of condom-use skills.


Parental monitoring interventions such as ImPACT should be given to parents in conjunction with more traditional youth-centered risk-reduction interventions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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