Parent-Adolescent Conflict and Adolescent Injuries

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Several studies have linked cumulative measures of stress to injuries, however none have examined the relationship between a prevalent stressor in adolescence, conflict between the parent and adolescent, and injuries. Data for this study came from 8231 British adolescents born one week in 1958 who had information on injuries between ages 15 and 17 available. A conflict scale was devised by summing mothers' assessments of the frequency of arguments with their 16-year-old offspring about eight problem areas. This scale had a linear association with injury rates for both boys and girls. Adolescent boys with high levels of conflict (> 90th percentile on conflict scale) had 2.9 times the rate of injuries resulting in hospitalization compared with boys from low conflict families (< 25th percentile), and 1.6 times the number of injuries resulting in outpatient care. Girls with high levels of conflict had 2.9 times the hospitalized injuries and 1.8 times the rate of less severe injuries compared with girls with low conflict. These findings suggest that conflictual parent-adolescent relationships may be an indicator of increased injuries in adolescents.

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