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Pediatrics. 2009 Oct;124(4):1040-51.

Associations between parenting styles and teen driving, safety-related behaviors and attitudes.

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Center for Injury Research and Prevention, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.



The goal was to explore the association between parenting style and driving behaviors.


The 2006 National Young Driver Survey gathered data on driving safety behaviors from a nationally representative sample of 5665 ninth-, 10th-, and 11th-graders. A parenting style variable was based on adolescent reports and separated parents into 4 groups, (1) authoritative (high support and high rules/monitoring), (2) authoritarian (low support and high rules/monitoring), (3) permissive (high support and low rules/monitoring), and (4) uninvolved (low support and low rules/monitoring). Associations between parenting style and driving behaviors and attitudes were assessed.


One half of parents were described as authoritative, 23% as permissive, 8% as authoritarian, and 19% as uninvolved. Compared with teens with uninvolved parents, those with authoritative parents reported one half the crash risk in the past year (odds ratio [OR]: 0.47 [95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.26-0.87]), were 71% less likely to drive when intoxicated (OR: 0.29 [95% CI: 0.19-0.44]), and were less likely to use a cellular telephone while driving (OR: 0.71 [95% CI: 0.50-0.99]). Teens with authoritative or authoritarian parents reported using seat belts nearly twice as often (authoritative: OR: 1.94 [95% CI: 1.49 -2.54]; authoritarian: OR: 1.85 [95% CI: 1.08 -3.18]) and speeding one half as often (authoritative: OR: 0.47 [95% CI: 0.36-0.61]; authoritarian: OR: 0.63 [95% CI: 0.40-0.99]) as teens with uninvolved parents. No significant differences in crash risk or seat belt use were found between permissive and uninvolved parents.


Clinicians should encourage parents to set rules and to monitor teens' driving behaviors, in a supportive context.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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