Interpersonal Effects of Parents and Adolescents on Each Other’s Health Behaviours: A Dyadic Extension to the Theory of Planned Behaviour


Objective: Interpersonal relationships are important predictors of health outcomes and interpersonal influences on behaviours may be key mechanisms underlying such effects. Most health behaviour theories focus on intrapersonal factors and may not adequately account for interpersonal influences. We evaluate a dyadic extension of the Theory of Planned Behaviour by examining whether parent and adolescent characteristics (attitudes, subjective norms, perceived behavioural control and intentions) are associated with not only their own but also each other’s intentions/behaviours. Design: Using the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model, we analyse responses from 1717 parent-adolescent dyads from the Family Life, Activity, Sun, Health, and Eating study. Main Outcome Measures: Adolescents/parents completed self-reports of their fruit and vegetable consumption, junk food and sugary drinks consumption, engagement in physical activity, and engagement in screen time sedentary behaviours. Results: Parent/adolescent characteristics are associated with each other’s health-relevant intentions/behaviours above the effects of individuals’ own characteristics on their own behaviours. Parent/adolescent characteristics covary with each other’s outcomes with similar strength, but parent characteristics more strongly relate to adolescent intentions, whereas adolescent characteristics more strongly relate to parent behaviours. Conclusions: Parents and adolescents may bidirectionally influence each other’s health intentions/behaviours. This highlights the importance of dyadic models of health behaviour and suggests intervention targets.

Pyschology & Health