Parental Warmth and Flourishing in Mid-Life

50 Pages Posted: 24 Sep 2018

See all articles by Ying Chen

Ying Chen

Harvard University - Institute for Quantitative Social Sciences

Laura Kubzansky

Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health

Tyler VanderWeele

Harvard University

Date Written: September 5, 2018

Abstract

This study examined the longitudinal association between parental warmth and offspring flourishing in mid-life. We also considered associations between parental warmth and a number of mental health problems and adverse health behavioral outcomes. Longitudinal data from the Midlife in the United States Study (N=3,929, mean baseline age=47.4 years) were analyzed using generalized estimating equations. Parental warmth in childhood was recalled at phase I (1995-1996), while flourishing and other outcomes were self-reported at phase II (2004-2006). Following an approach developed by Corey Keyes, flourishing was operationalized as a combined measure incorporating assessments of three aspects of well-being, including emotional, psychological and social well-being. The results suggest that parental warmth was positively associated with the continuous score of flourishing (B=0.21, 95% confidence interval [CI]=0.18, 0.25). The association was not specific to any particular component (emotional, psychological, or social well-being) or subdomain of flourishing. Parental warmth was also inversely associated with several adverse health behavior outcomes such as drug use and smoking. Parental warmth in childhood may help promote offspring functioning across multiple domains of well-being in mid-life. The findings help to strengthen the call for a public health focus on the importance of parenting for outcomes beyond childhood and well into adulthood, and suggest the value of targeting parenting practices for prevention and intervention strategies to improve population health and well-being.

Keywords: Parental Warmth; Flourishing; Well-Being; Health Assets; Life Course

Suggested Citation

Chen, Ying and Kubzansky, Laura and VanderWeele, Tyler, Parental Warmth and Flourishing in Mid-Life (September 5, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3244767 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3244767

Ying Chen (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Institute for Quantitative Social Sciences ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Laura Kubzansky

Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health ( email )

677 Huntington Ave
Boston, MA MA 02115
United States

Tyler VanderWeele

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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