Parental control and affection prevent the use of harmful substances and promote constructive leisure activities among adolescents

This became clear from an investigation with 3,300 adolescents from 4 countries conducted by the School of Nursing and the ICS, both at the University of Navarra

Descripcion de la imagen
From left to right, researchers Jokin de Irala, Marta Vidaurreta, Charo Reparaz, Maider Belintxon and Alfonso Osorio. The photo does not include author Marcia Van Riper, a collaborating professor with the School of Nursing.
FOTO: Manuel Castells
01/12/20 17:22 Laura Juampérez

According to an article published in the International Journal of Environment Research and Public Health, adolescents educated with greater parental affection and control present a pattern of behavior that includes less consumption of harmful substances and more time dedicated to constructive leisure activities.

This is one conclusion from the project “A+ (Positive Adolescents),”which was developed by researchers from the School of Nursing, namely Maider Belintxon and Marta Vidaurreta, and by Alfonso Osorio, Jokin de Irala and Charo Reparaz from the Institute for Culture and Society (ICS), all at the University of Navarra.

With a sample of 3,300 adolescents from Spain, Mexico, Chile and Peru between the ages of 12 and 15, the research results make clear “the protective effect that the family has on them, which also contributes to and increases their ability to reach positive development,” explains one of the researchers involved, Maider Belintxon, who holds a PhD in Nursing.

In terms of parental affection, the research team includes the importance of fathers and mothers knowing and understanding their children, talking to them in a friendly way, taking time to listen to them and accepting them as they are. “Doing so,”as the researcher highlights, “is associated with lower levels of alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and other drug consumption among adolescents. At the same time, parents’ affection encourages young people to participate in more outdoor activities, collaborate with voluntary associations, get involved in artistic and educational activities and share leisure time with their parents.”

Joint decision-making between parents and children

This research— funded by the University of Navarra’s PIUNA Research Plan—reveals evidence of parental control’s protective nature when it comes to adolescents avoiding the consumption of harmful substances. As Alfonso Osorio notes, “Parental control, understood as parent-established limits— for example the amount of permitted screen time— as well as joint decision-making between parents and children on issues like schedules, is related to the practice of constructive leisure activity and to reduction in the time that young people spend on the street, in shopping centers, in game rooms or in public places without the presence of adults.” Osorio is the principal investigator of the Institute for Culture and Society’s Education of Human Affectivity and Sexuality project.

The results indicate lower levels of affection and control in single-parent families. “Minors in this family structure shared less constructive leisure time [with parents] and reported more substance use." The opposite was observed, according to the study’s authors, in adolescents whose parents have university studies and, therefore, a higher general socioeconomic level: “This reality is linked to young people who feel more affection and positive control from their mothers and fathers and who, once again, enjoy more and better leisure time [with them],” as the study’s co-author, Marta Vidaurreta, concluded.

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