We are an image of our parents whether genetically or socially. The influence a parent can have in a child’s overall development is immensely important. A study which backs up this very claim suggests that, how well parents understand the daily experiences of their teenagers is linked to the latter’s physical and mental well-being.
Having parents who understand how their day went may affect psychological adjustments of teenagers and their cellular responses to stress – providing a possible link to improved physical health, the findings noted.
“These results provide preliminary evidence that parental accuracy regarding their adolescent’s daily experiences may be one specific daily parent factor that plays a role in adolescent health and well-being,” said researcher Lauren Human from the University of California, San Francisco in the US.
In the study, 116 parent-teenager pairs completed daily diaries for two weeks. The adolescents and their parents rated the daily demands (how much work they had at school and at home) as well as the positivity of their day together. The teenagers also rated their general levels of depression and stress.
“Adolescents whose parents more accurately perceived the positivity of their day together reported lower depression and perceived stress,” Human added.
The study also looked at how parental perceptions affected biological mechanisms relevant to health. That included tests of immune functions involved in inflammation, including cellular responses to the stress hormone cortisol.Teenagers whose parents more accurately perceived the positivity of their day together exhibited greater “glucocorticoid sensitivity”. “Their immune cells were more sensitive to anti-inflammatory signals from cortisol,” Human concluded.
The findings appeared in the Journal Psychosomatic Medicine: Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine.