Parental Knowledge and Youth Risky Behavior: A Person Oriented Approach

Melissa A. Lippold, Mark T. Greenberg, Linda M. Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Most studies isolate the effects of one knowledge-related behavior on youth outcomes. This study explores the relationship between subgroups of mother-youth dyads that use specific combinations of parental knowledge-related behaviors and youth risky behavior. Using a sample of 796 rural 6th graders (53 % female), we assessed mother and youth reports of maternal knowledge, active parent monitoring efforts, youth disclosure, parental supervision, and the amount of parent-youth communication to identify five knowledge latent classes: High-Monitors, Maternal Over-Estimators, Low-Monitors, Communication-Focused, and Supervision-Focused. Delinquency, antisocial peers, and substance use were associated with increased odds of membership in the Supervision-Focused class, relative to the High Monitors. Membership in the Low Monitors and Maternal Over-Estimators classes was associated with unhealthy attitudes towards substances and for Low Monitors, substance use. The discussion focuses on the value of using a person-oriented approach to understand parental knowledge and risky behavior during early adolescence and intervention implications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1732-1744
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Youth and Adolescence
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2013


  • Delinquency
  • Parental knowledge
  • Parenting
  • Problem behavior
  • Substance use

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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