In this study, we examined how adolescents compare monitoring efforts by their parents to those of a "good parent" standard and assessed the impact of these comparisons on adolescent self-disclosure and risk behavior and their perceptions of their parents' monitoring knowledge. Survey responses from 519 adolescents (12-17 years) at baseline of a larger, longitudinal study examining parental monitoring and adolescent risk were examined. Adolescents' "good parent comparisons" differed greatly by monitoring areas (e.g., telephone use, health, money); however, between 5.5% and 25.8% of adolescents believed their parents needed to monitor their activities more than they currently were monitoring. Alternatively, between 8.5% and 23.8% of adolescents believed their parents needed to monitor their activities less often. These perceptions significantly distinguished adolescents in terms of their level of disclosure, perceived monitoring knowledge, and risk involvement. Adolescents who viewed their parents as needing to monitor more were less likely to disclose information to their parents (p<.001), less likely to perceive their parents as having greater monitoring knowledge (p<.001), and more likely to be involved in a risk behaviors (p<.001) than adolescents who perceived their parents needed no change. Adolescent disclosure to a parent is a powerful predictor of adolescent risk and poor health outcomes. These findings demonstrate that adolescents' comparisons of their parents' monitoring efforts can predict differences in adolescent disclosure and future risk. Obtaining adolescent "good parent" comparisons may successfully identify intervention opportunities with the adolescent and parent by noting the areas of need and direction of monitoring improvement.
Cottrell, L., Rishel, C., Lilly, C., Cottrell, S., Metzger, A., Ahmadi, H., … Stanton, B. (2015). Do parents meet adolescents’ monitoring standards? Examination of the impact on teen risk disclosure and behaviors if they don’t. PLoS ONE, 10(5). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0125750