ERIC Number: ED428897
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1999
Setting an Example: The Health, Medical Care, and Health-Related Behavior of American Parents.
This report details a national survey study of parents, age 54 or younger, living with children under age 18. The study examined parents' physical health status, stress levels and negative feelings, health habits, and access to health care. Findings indicated that one in eight parents reported health problems, with health related to education, income, parent age, marital status, and employment status. Stress levels were higher than physical health problems, with almost half of mothers and more than a third of fathers experiencing a lot of stress in the previous year. Parents without health insurance had the same or lower rates of seeking psychological help than parents with private insurance. One third of mothers and 40 percent of fathers engaged in at least one risky health-related behavior, with risky behavior related to income and education level, and marital status. Fifty-five percent of fathers and 74 percent of mothers reported having a medical check-up within the previous 2 years, with differences found across social and demographic groups. Several indicators suggested inadequate access to health care. This report considers three theoretical perspectives to explain associations between background factors and parental health, (1) stress hypothesis; (2) resource hypothesis; and (3) dysfunctional behavior hypothesis. The report concludes by noting that many parents need to change their health-related behavior to set an example for their children to remain physically and mentally healthy for the crucial task of child rearing. Data tables are appended. Contains 83 references. (Author/KB)
Descriptors: Access to Health Care, Comparative Analysis, Family Health, Health, Health Behavior, Health Insurance, Health Promotion, Health Related Fitness, Medical Services, National Surveys, Parents
Child Trends, 4301 Connecticut Avenue, Suite 100, Washington, DC 20008; phone: 202-362-5580.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, NJ.
Authoring Institution: Child Trends, Inc., Washington, DC.
Note: Additional support provided by the Nord Family Foundation.