Family communication patterns and teen drivers' attitudes toward driving safety

Jingzhen Yang, Shelly Campo, Marizen Ramirez, Julia Richards Krapfl, Gang Cheng, Corinne Peek-Asa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Introduction: Family communication patterns (FCPs) play an important role in reducing the risk-taking behaviors of teens, such as substance use and safer sex. However, little is known about the relationship between family communication and teen driving safety. Method: We analyzed the baseline data from a randomized trial that included 163 parent-teen dyads, with teens who would be receiving their intermediate driver's license within 3 months. FCPs were divided into four types-pluralistic, protective, consensual, and laissez-faire. -and were correlated with the frequency of parent-teen discussions and teens' driving safety attitudes. Results: The ratings on four types of FCPs were distributed quite evenly among teens and parents. Parents and teens agreed on their FCP ratings (p=.64). In families with communication patterns that were laissez-faire, protective, and pluralistic, parents talked to their teens less about safe driving than did parents in families with a consensual communication pattern (p<.01). Moreover, the frequency of parent-teen communication about safe driving was positively associated with teen attitudes toward safe driving (adjusted β = 0.35, p=.03). Discussion: Health care providers need to encourage parents, particularly those with non-consensual FCPs, to increase frequency of parent-teen interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)334-341
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pediatric Health Care
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • Driving safety
  • Family communication
  • Teen drivers


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