Method: Surveys were sent to households throughout Mexico where there was a parent/guardian and a 14-17-year-old youth. The final sample consisted of data from 373 parent-child dyads (total N = 746), with data coming from participants living in each Mexican state. Demographic measures, parent-child relationship measures, and measures assessing participant health, health behaviors, HL, health access, and health knowledge were administered. HL scales utilized included the HLS-Q12 Health Literacy Subscale and the All Aspects of Health Literacy Scale. The All Aspects of Health Literacy Scale included three subscales: Functional HL, Communication HL, and Critical HL.
Results: OLS regressions looking at HLS-Q12 scores and parent-child relationship found that as parent-child conflict increases, HLS-Q12 scores decrease (b = -1.22; p < 0.01). This relationship was similar for Functional HL (b = -0.18; p < 0.001) and Communication HL (b = -0.11; p < 0.01). Logistic regression analyses found that lower parent-child relationship scores predicted higher lifetime substance use (p < 0.05), and high-risk sexual behavior (p < 0.01). OLS regressions also found that higher parent-child conflict results in more lifetime sexual encounters (p < 0.05).
Conclusions and Implications: Our results support previous research on the connection between parent-child relationships and adolescent negative health outcomes and behaviors. Our findings also indicated that parent-child conflict influences adolescent HL, with more conflict associated with lower HL. This may be understood in light of previous research suggesting that most youth go to their family members for health information because of barriers in accessing appropriate healthcare information. However, if parent-child conflict is high, youth may not be going to their parents for easier-to-understand heath information. Further research is needed to assess and develop appropriate service policies to reduce the current barriers in place in order to help adolescents build their HL skills.