Parental concern about concussion risk for their children

Soc Sci Med. 2019 Feb;222:359-366. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.12.037. Epub 2019 Jan 21.


Purpose: Assess demographic patterns of parental concern or worry about concussion for their children; compare parent worry about concussion to worry about other health threats.

Methods: Survey data were obtained using a probability-based nationally representative cross-sectional online survey of parents (n = 1025, 52% response rate). The association between family demographic characteristics and parent worry about concussion was assessed using multivariate logistic regression. The extent to which parents were worried about concussion was compared to worry about 14 other pediatric health threats. Patterns of worry about all measured health threats were modeled using latent class analyses, with comparisons made by parent demographic characteristics.

Results: Around half of parents (51%) were worried about child's risk of concussion (responses of "very worried" or "somewhat worried"), statistically indistinguishable to the amount worried about risk of car crashes (55%) and anxiety (54%). Parents were more worried about screen time (71%) and bullying (57%) than concussion. In a multivariate logistic regression model with step-wise variable selection, there was statistically significantly greater worry about concussion among parents who were less educated, less affluent and who identified as Hispanic or Black. The latent class analysis resulted in three groups: high, moderate, and low worry about all health threats. There were significantly higher odds of being in the high worry group as compared to the moderate or low worry group among parents who were less educated and of Hispanic ethnicity.

Conclusions: Many parents are worried about concussion, and this worry is greatest among the most socioeconomically disadvantaged parents. Further research is needed to determine the cause of this difference. Such work can identify whether there are appropriate individual or community-level targets for intervention to improve the ability of parents to understand and address the potential threat of concussion to their child.

Keywords: Health threat; Parents; Socioeconomic status; concussion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain Concussion
  • Bullying / psychology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Minority Groups
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Screen Time
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States / epidemiology