Socioeconomic Status and Parenting During Adolescence in Relation to Ideal Cardiovascular Health in Black and White Men

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Abstract

Objective: American Heart Association (AHA) developed a new metric to evaluate ideal cardiovascular health based on optimal levels of 7 cardiovascular risk factors and health behaviors. We evaluated the relationships of parenting characteristics and academic achievement in adolescence in relation to ideal cardiovascular health in midlife men. Method: We measured cardiovascular risk factors in 171 Black and 136 White men and their ideal cardiovascular health score was constructed based on AHA guidelines. When the participants were 13–16 years old, annual measures of parent–child communication, positive relationship, parental monitoring, family cohesion, boys’ involvement in family activities, and academic achievement were recorded and averaged. Results: Confirmatory factor analysis of adolescent parenting measures revealed a single Parenting Composite. Multiple linear regressions showed a significant Race by Parenting Composite interaction term, β = −.19, p = .03; better parenting was significantly related to more ideal cardiovascular health in Blacks only, β = −.23, p = .004, which remained after adjustments for adolescent and adult socioeconomic status (SES). Academic achievement was related to ideal cardiovascular health, β = −.13, but was no longer significant after controls for adult SES. Adult SES was a strong correlate of ideal cardiovascular health in Black and White men. Conclusions: Black men exposed to positive parenting during adolescence had more ideal cardiovascular health based on AHA guidelines. Improving academic achievement in adolescence may indirectly benefit adult cardiovascular health through improving adult SES. This is the first study of adolescent family predictors of the extent of ideal cardiovascular health.

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