Lower parental socioeconomic status in childhood and adolescence predicts unhealthy health behaviour patterns in adolescence in Northern Finland

Scand J Caring Sci. 2021 Sep;35(3):742-752. doi: 10.1111/scs.12888. Epub 2020 Jul 14.


Objectives: To determine the association between parental socioeconomic status in childhood and adolescence and unhealthy health behaviour patterns among adolescents in Northern Finland.

Methods: The sample, drawn from the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1986 Study, consisted of 15- to 16-year-old adolescents (n = 4305). Data on socioeconomic status and health behaviours were based on questionnaires collected from cohort members and their parents during the former's childhood and adolescence. Logistic regression served to assess the association.

Results: Controlling for all other factors in the model, several socioeconomic factors were found to be significant predictors of unhealthy health behaviour patterns. In childhood, father's low and medium education for boys, and mother's low or medium education as well as fathers' unemployment for girls predicted greater likelihood of engaging in unhealthy behaviour patterns. For both genders, having a stay-at-home mother in childhood (and for boys also in adolescence) protected from unhealthy health behaviour patterns. For boys, mother's and for girls, fathers' low occupational education in adolescence increased the risk of developing unhealthy patterns.

Conclusions: In the development of effective health prevention strategies, it is important to identify children and adolescents who are at risk of developing lifestyle diseases.

Keywords: adolescence; childhood; health behaviour; health behaviour pattern; socioeconomic status.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parents*
  • Social Class*
  • Socioeconomic Factors

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