Exploring parent child connectedness from adolescent’s and parent’s perspectives: evidence from a pilot study from urban and rural area, Pune District, India

Mallika Alexander, KEM Hospital Research Centre
Laila Garda, KEM Hospital Research Centre

Young people account for almost 45% of all new HIV/AIDS infections. Sexual route being the commonest route of transmission and risky sexual behaviour is not rare in India. Evidence emphasizes protective effect of Parent Child Connectedness (PCC) for adolescent’s risky behaviour but few studies have examined it in Indian context. Objective of the paper is to explore PCC, from parents and adolescent’s perspectives and document gender variations. Information for this paper is drawn from baseline qualitative and quantitative data from about 370 unmarried adolescents and 270 parents of an intervention study addressing PCC at community level. Mothers emerge as better listeners, communicators and understanding parent in adolescent’s especially from girl’s perspective as well as the person adolescents spend more time with. Perceptions and experiences of parents and adolescents were similar for some constructs of PCC but differed for most. At times the adolescent’s and parent’s perceptions are entirely contradictory to each other, as in fewer adolescents, one in five, anticipate supportive reaction from parents in adverse circumstances, much lower than the encouraging reactions reported by parents. But mostly the differences were confined to the extent of connectedness and gender variations (son daughter and mother father variations). For example, around half of urban adolescents have discussed school related issues with their mothers as compared to less than two in five reporting similar discussions with father. However more parents perceive that they have discussed school matter, in contrast to adolescent’s report. More research is required to consolidate these emerging findings in Indian context. Differential interventional strategies to enhance mother’s role as well as improve father’s involvement and bridge the gender gap in connectedness is needed to strengthen parent adolescent relationship in an effort to build a supportive environment for their transition into safe and informed adulthood.

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Presented in Poster Session 1