Children of conservative parents are more likely to have better mental health than children of liberal parents, according to a new research brief from the Institute for Family Studies (IFS) and Gallup. published Thursday.
“As it happens, being raised by liberal parents has a much greater risk factor for adolescent mental health problems than growing up in a low-income household with parents who did not attend college.” The author of the letter, Principal Jonathan Rothwell, wrote: He is a Gallup economist and non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
“Children of conservative parents may use comprehensive measures of mental health based on a few items or have either parents or adolescents summarize their mental health on a scale of 1 to 5. “Just by receiving it, your mental health scores will improve significantly. It makes a huge difference,” Rothwell continued.
Rothwell and his colleagues at Gallup investigated what creates positive relationships between young people and their parents, and how parent-youth relationships influence young people’s mental health. Research began over the summer. They surveyed 6,643 parents, including 2,956 who lived with their adolescents, and interviewed 1,580 adolescents.
Rothwell I have written Describing his findings in an IFS blog post, he noted that parents’ political ideology is “one of the strongest predictors” of good mental health in children.
“Conservative or very conservative parents are most likely to adopt parenting practices that are associated with adolescent mental health. While showing love and being responsive to their child’s needs, they “They are most likely to effectively discipline children,” he writes.
Conversely, “liberal parents score the lowest and even worse than very liberal parents, largely because they are the least likely to be able to successfully discipline their children,” he said. .
“In contrast, conservative parents enjoy higher quality relationships with their children, characterized by fewer arguments, warmth, and stronger bonds, as reported by both parent and child,” he continued. Ta.
Based on these numbers, researchers found that young people with very conservative parents were 16 to 17 percentage points more likely to have good or excellent health than those with very liberal parents. I discovered that.
“Only 55% of adolescents with liberal parents reported good or excellent mental health compared to 77% of adolescents with conservative or very conservative parents.” Research has revealed.
ὄAmazing newness @Gallup @FamStudies According to the study, “Conservative parents are most likely to adopt parenting styles related to adolescent mental health, showing love and responding to their children’s needs while disciplining them effectively.” Most likely.” https://t.co/sO29TWkvM0
— Brad Wilcox (@BradWilcoxIFS) November 30, 2023
The researchers also found that conservative parents were 8 percentage points more likely to have positive relationships with their adolescents than liberal parents, and that there was a 14 percentage point difference between very conservative and liberal parents. I also discovered that there is a difference in points.
“Interestingly, however, ‘very liberal parents’ scores are much higher than liberal parents, only slightly behind conservative parents, and not significantly different,” the study says. It’s dark. “Yet, differences in relationship quality, whether self-reported or reported by children, favor conservative parents over liberal parents.”
The study found that disciplinary action “represents the greatest political divide.”
“For example, 80 percent of very conservative parents disagreed with the statement, “When there is conflict, my child often gets his way,” compared to 66 percent of conservative parents. , 64 percent of moderate parents, 53 percent of liberal parents, and 55 percent of very liberal parents.” It has also been pointed out that they are slightly more likely to report that they are present.
What are the strongest predictors of high-quality parent-child relationships?
✓ Not 💵 or Education
✓ “The single most powerful predictor of the quality of the parent-child relationship is the quality of the parent-partner relationship” +
✓ “Ideology and attitudes toward marriage are also highly predictive.”
— Brad Wilcox (@BradWilcoxIFS) December 1, 2023
The study also found that parents with “more pro-marriage attitudes” were “more likely to engage in best-practice parenting.” Participants were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with her following three items:
- Marriage improves partnerships by strengthening commitment to each other.
- I hope my child will marry someone when the time comes.
- Marriage is an outdated institution.
“Those who agree with the top two items and disagree with the third item have strong pro-marriage attitudes and are more likely to engage in parenting practices based on responsiveness and discipline than parents who do not share these views. “Significantly more likely,” the study found.
“The single most powerful predictor of parent-child relationship quality is the quality of the parent-partner relationship. Parents who rated their marital relationship an 8 out of 10 were more likely to experience romantic discord.” “Adolescents are 23 points more likely to have positive (above average) relationships with their children than their parents,” the study continued. .
Overall, the researchers said that the most important factor in an adolescent’s mental health is “the quality of their relationship with their caregivers.” This relationship is strongly linked to parenting practices: “The best results come from warm, responsive, rule-following, and disciplined parenting,” Rothwell writes.
More than 1,000 studies have been published that “examine the relationship between parenting style and internalizing symptoms of mental illness, such as anxiety and depression, as well as externalizing behaviors such as aggression and delinquency,” Rothwell said. he pointed out.
These studies ultimately found that authoritative parenting was associated with fewer mental health problems and delinquent behavior at the time of measurement and in the future, he writes.
“Harsh parenting and overly permissive parenting predict a higher risk of mental health problems and behavioral problems, as does neglect,” he added.
Professor Rothwell analyzed national mortality records and found that since the coronavirus pandemic began in 2020, between 2020 and 2023, “more people died from despair than from COVID-19”. found that 18 times as many U.S. teens did so. “Yet, the link between parenting and mental health has been largely ignored by the major agencies responsible for promoting mental health in the United States,” he wrote.
“One reason for this is that public health organizations like the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics are making timely decisions on everything from COVID-19 prevention to the desirability of medical interventions for young people with mental health issues. “This may mean an increased focus on partisan issues,” he wrote. “These issues allow organizations to exert cultural influence, but they are reactive and not built on a strong scientific foundation.”
Rothwell argues that public health leaders are instead “aiming to solve the problem through medicalization” and “a family-centered or individual mentality focused on healing and strengthening relationships.” There is almost no mention of therapy.”
“The nation’s mental health leaders need to resist the temptation to jump on the latest cultural fad and recommit to communicating useful scientific research to the public,” he concluded. “It means being honest about the youth mental health crisis. It’s largely about parenting.”