Family resources and health behaviours in adolescence

Stefano Mazzuco, Università di Padova
Silvia Meggiolaro, Università di Padova

Previous research has documented the effects of family factors on children health behaviours: the family is, indeed, one of the primary mechanisms underlying children’s growth and development. Socio-economic status and family structure are the family characteristics usually considered in literature. However, parents also serve as models, so that their health behaviours are sometimes also considered: the family unit may be, indeed, the primary source of transmission of behaviours. These family factors are likely to be intertwined among them, but rarely they have been considered together in the existing literature. In this paper, we will jointly examine the effects of family characteristics (structure and resources) and of parental behaviours on four health behaviours of adolescents aged 11-17, using data from an Italian nationally representative survey. Two of them are risk factors connected with substance use: cigarette smoking and alcohol use (especially what is generally referred to as “binge-drinking”); the other two ones regarded healthy lifestyle behaviours: physical activity and sports and optimal diet, the latter measured by the daily consumption of fruits and vegetables. In addition, due to the non negligible fraction of missing data in survey investigating delicate questions such as those concerning unhealthy behaviours and expecting that we can hardly assume the missing data mechanism is ignorable, we will compare the results from a complete-case analysis (i.e. analysis of only complete observations) with those obtained taking into account that the mechanism determining the missing data structure. This will be done by means of the implementation of an EM (Expectation-Maximization) algorithm.

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Presented in Session 81: Health in European populations: comparisons, trends, determinants