Effect of parental mental health status on adolescents' dietary behaviors

L. Joseph Su, Mary Story, S. Susan Su

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore whether adolescents of substance-abusing and depressed parents were more likely to have poor dietary behaviors than those in the healthy comparison families. Methods: The sample consisted of 841 adolescents in families of substance-abusing parents, depressed parents, and parents without a diagnosable psychiatric disorder. All adolescents were given a food frequency questionnaire. Results: Adolescents whose parents had substance abuse disorder had lower intakes of fruits and higher intakes of high fat foods, and also ate more frequently at fast-food restaurants and purchased more snacks. Adolescents whose parents were depressed had lower intakes of all food groups. Mother's mental health status impacted more on adolescents' dietary behaviors than did the father's mental health status. Conclusion: This research suggests that at-risk behaviors among youth of psychiatrically impaired parents may extend to food behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)426-433
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1997
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
From the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health, Chapel Hill, North Carolina (L.J.S.); the University of Minnesota, School of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology, Minneapolis, Minnesota (M.S.); and the National Opinion Research Center, University of Chicago, Washington, DC. Address reprint requests to: Mary Story, Ph.D., R.D., Associate Professor, University of Minnesota, School of Public Health, Division of Epidemiology, 1300 South Second Street, Suite 300, Minneapolis, MN 55454-1015. This research was supported by Grant no. DA05617 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Manuscript accepted September 17, 1996.


  • Adolescent eating behavior
  • Nutrition
  • Parent depression
  • Parent substance abuse


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of parental mental health status on adolescents' dietary behaviors'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this