Self-Reported Parenting Style Is Associated With Children’s Inflammation and Immune Activation

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Abstract

Family environments and parenting have been associated with inflammation and immune activation in children and adolescents; however, it remains unclear which specific aspects of parenting drive this association. In this study, we cross-sectionally examined the association between 5 discrete parenting styles and inflammation and immune activation in late childhood. Data were drawn from 102 families (55 with female children, mean age 9.50 years, SD = 0.34) participating in the Imaging Brain Development in the Childhood to Adolescence Transition Study. Children provided saliva samples from which inflammation (C-reactive protein) and immune competence/activation (secretory immunoglobulin A) were measured. Parents completed the Alabama Parenting Questionnaire, which measures 5 aspects of parenting style—positive parental involvement, positive disciplinary techniques, consistency in disciplinary techniques, corporal punishment, and monitoring and supervision. Results showed that higher scores on the poor parental monitoring scale were associated with higher levels of both inflammation and immune activation in children. This study highlights parental monitoring and supervision as a specific aspect of parenting behavior that may be important for children’s physical and mental health.

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