Parental Closeness, Parental Knowledge, and Their Effects on Risky Behaviors

Document Type


Publication Date

April 2010

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Eric Landrum


Psychologists have been interested in studying parental knowledge and risky behaviors that adolescents and emerging adults participate in. While still living at home, the home may act as a safe buffer for adolescents, keeping risky behaviors to a minimum. Once adolescents enter the emerging adulthood stage and leave the house, this buffer disappears, and another buffer must form to replace it. This study seeks to determine if open communication and perceived closeness to parents is a possible safety net in reducing risky behaviors that emerging adults participate in. Participants for this study came from Boise State University and signed up via Experimentrix, online, or were chosen as volunteers. After signing up for this study, emerging adults were given a survey with questions relating to parental monitoring, child disclosure, risky behaviors, and parental closeness. The results from the survey showed that satisfaction with parental communication, parental closeness, and parental knowledge had an effect on alcohol and drug use and participation in sexual intercourse with no protection. A limitation of this study was the fact the age range of those taking this survey was higher than the age range for the ideal study on emerging adults. However, significant findings were still found, and as a result of these findings, it is recommended that even after children leave home for college, parents foster closeness and continue to communicate with their child.

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