Health

New study asks: ‘Can moms be too concerned?’

A study conducted by MyFampal found that wealthy moms and younger moms expressed highest level of concern in their tween and teen’s emotions, moods and behaviors. However, moms’ concern is much less than predicted, assuming maternal concern mirrored the prevalence of DSM-IV disorders in teens.

A study conducted by MyFampal found that wealthy moms and younger moms expressed highest level of concern in their tween and teen’s emotions, moods and behaviors. However, moms’ concern is much less than predicted, assuming maternal concern mirrored the prevalence of DSM-IV disorders in teens.

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Greater household income = greater concern. A significantly greater proportion of moms in families with household income of $75K+ are concerned about their 10-17 year old’s’ emotions, moods and behaviors, compared with moms from households with lower income (p<0.001): More than 1 in 4 moms (28.4%) in households with income of $75K+ are concerned compared with 1 in 7 (13.1%) households with <$75K income. Overall rate of concern in moms is 14.5%

Younger moms = greater concern. Younger moms aged 35-44 years expressed greater concern than older moms (45+ years) although the difference only just reached statistical significance (p=0.05); The percentage of moms aged 35-44 years expressing concern was 17.4%, compared with 13.0% in older moms.

The survey was conducted by MyFampal on October 14-15, with 1,333 moms asked: ‘Do any of the children aged 10-17 years in your family have emotions, moods or behaviors that concern you?’ Survey sent to moms aged 35-64 via Google Consumer Surveys (779 responses from women with children aged 10-17).

The study was large (data from 779 moms was included). The prevalence of and DSM-IV disorders in US adolescents aged 13-17 (n=10 148) years, for instance, has been estimated to be 40.3% at 12 months (Kessler 2012). The rate of mom concerns found in this survey is approximately 1/3 the 12-month prevalence of DSM-IV disorders in teens (14.5% vs 40.3%). The significant increase in maternal concern in households with income >$75K in our survey reflects the increased risk of developing serious maladjustments in affluent youth described in earlier studies (Luthar 2013). So, can moms be too concerned? Maybe not.

But the people behind the study admitted that more work needs to be done to help understand why this is. For example: If moms only recognize a minority of emotional, mood and behavioral disorders in their teens, who is picking up the rest? Is the increased concern expressed by moms in wealthier families effecting affluent teens? Also, are older moms better able to handle concerning teen behaviors than younger moms?

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