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Teens More Likely to be Mentally Healthy if They Have Conservative Parents, Study Says

  (Photo by leah hetteberg on Unsplash)   ‘Liberal parents score the lowest’ A new study reveals what would be a big ho-hum for conservative...


(Photo by leah hetteberg on Unsplash)


‘Liberal parents score the lowest’

A new study reveals what would be a big ho-hum for conservatives, but might be revelatory for others: that teens with conservative parents are likely to be more health mentally.

The comes from the Institute for Family Studies and Gallup, and a report authored by Jonathan Rothwell found:


My colleagues and I at Gallup launched a study this summer to understand the causes. We surveyed 6,643 parents, including 2,956 who live with an adolescent, and we surveyed an additional 1,580 of those adolescents. We asked about mental health, visits to doctors, parenting practices, family relationships, activities, personality traits, attitudes toward marriage, and other topics, including excessive social media use, as discussed in prior work. I present the results in a new Institute for Family Studies and Gallup research brief.

The findings are clear. The most important factor in the mental health of adolescent children is the quality of the relationship with their caregivers. This, in turn, is strongly related to parenting practices—with the best results coming from warm, responsive, and rule-bound, disciplined parenting. The data also reveal the characteristics of parents who engage in best-practices and enjoy the highest quality relationships.

Further, the report specified, “Conservative and very conservative parents are the most likely to adopt the parenting practices associated with adolescent mental health.”

And, “Parents who think highly of marriage exhibit better parenting practices and have a higher quality relationship with their teens.”

The report explained, “After a decade of surging adolescent mental health problems and suicide, the nation’s leading public health authorities have declared an emergency. Unfortunately, the solutions proposed by organizations like the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics—such as increased funding for diagnostic and psychiatric services—do not meet the challenge and ignore what are likely to be the most important causes. Adolescent biology hasn’t changed.”

It documented that there’s “no variation” in different economic situations, either.

“The results may be shocking to many highly educated Americans who were taught to believe that socioeconomic status dictates everything good in life. Income doesn’t buy better parenting, and more highly educated parents do not score better, either. Parenting style and relationship quality also do not meaningfully vary by race and ethnicity within our U.S. sample,” the report said.

It noted, pointedly, that there are “some parental characteristics” that do have an impact.

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