Wellness and risk communication from parent to teen: the “Parental Energy Index”

Leslie A. Lytle, Amanda Birnbaum, Kerri Boutelle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


This paper describes a step in exploring the context of health messages within other issues important to families with teenage children. A telephone survey of parents was conducted as part of the formative evaluation for a school and familybased nutrition intervention with young adolescents. Parents were asked to indicate the frequency with which they talked to their teenage children about a variety of issues, including school and home management issues, wellness issues and health risks. Our results suggest that school and home management issues are more frequently discussed than are health messages. In addition, we saw differences by socioeconomic status (SES) of families. Lower SES families gave more messages overall and gave more priority to messages about health risks as compared to higher SES families. Increasing our understanding regarding family communication with teenagers may help us improve our effectiveness in working with families to reduce health risk factors in youth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-214
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Education
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Oct 1999


  • Communications
  • Family life
  • Health
  • Risk
  • Young people


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