Adolescent-parent interactions and communication preferences regarding body weight and weight management: a qualitative study.
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This study aimed to canvass the nature of adolescent-parent interactions about weight, particularly overweight, and to explore ideas of how to foster supportive discussions regarding weight, both in the home and with family doctors.
A market research company was contracted to recruit and conduct a series of separate focus groups with adolescents and unrelated parents of adolescents from low-middle socio-economic areas in Sydney and a regional centre, Australia. Group discussions were audio recorded, transcribed, and then a qualitative content analysis of the data was performed.
Nine focus groups were conducted; two were held with girls (n = 13), three with boys (n = 18), and four with parents (20 mothers, 12 fathers). Adolescent and parent descriptions of weight-related interactions could be classified into three distinct approaches: indirect/cautious (i.e. focus on eating or physical activity behaviors without discussing weight specifically); direct/open (i.e. body weight was discussed); and never/rarely discussing the subject. Indirect approaches were described most frequently by both adolescents and parents and were generally preferred over direct approaches. Parents and adolescents were circumspect but generally supportive of the potential role for family doctors to monitor and discuss adolescent weight status.
These findings have implications for developing acceptable messages for adolescent and family overweight prevention and treatment interventions.