Associations between Parenting Style and Mental Health in Children and Adolescents Aged 11-17 Years: Results of the KiGGS Cohort Study (Second Follow-Up)

Children (Basel). 2021 Aug 2;8(8):672. doi: 10.3390/children8080672.


Few studies from Germany have investigated the associations between parenting style and children's and adolescents' health. Little attention has been directed to whether these associations vary with familial socioeconomic or migration status. The aim of this analysis was to investigate the association between parenting style and the mental health of children and adolescents aged 11-17 years using data from the KiGGS cohort study (second follow-up). We calculated mean Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) total difficulties scores stratified by parenting style (authoritative, permissive, demanding-controlling, emotional distancing). Linear regression analyses adjusted for age, gender, socioeconomic status, migration status, and family status were performed. We also analyzed moderating effects of socioeconomic and migrations status on associations between parenting style and SDQ scores. There were only small differences between the permissive and the authoritative parenting styles. Significantly higher mean scores were observed for the demanding-controlling and emotional distancing styles for both the mother and father. These associations persisted after full adjustment and did not vary by socioeconomic or migration status. Parenting behavior is an important predictor of children's and adolescents' mental health. The promotion of good relationships within families and improving parenting skills offer promising approaches for health promotion in young people.

Keywords: Germany; adolescence; childhood; family; mental health; migration; parenting; socioeconomic position; strengths and difficulties questionnaire.