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Family Communication Patterns and Teen Driving Intervention Effectiveness

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Objectives: Teen drivers are at increased crash risk, largely due to lack of experience. Parents play a key role in influencing teen behaviors and attitudes around driving safety. Parent-involved interventions may improve teen driving safety but tend to be resource intensive and have limited scalability. In this study, we examined how family communication patterns (FCPs) impact teen risky driving and the effectiveness of a parent-focused teen driving intervention. Methods: Our data came from a large randomized controlled teen driving intervention trial. We randomized parent-teen dyads into one of 3 groups: parent communication intervention plus in-vehicle event recorder feedback; in-vehicle event recorder feedback only ; or control. The primary outcome variable was teen risky driving (self-reports and triggered events); the primary exposure variables were FCPs and intervention group. We used generalized linear models to calculate effect estimates. Results: Teens' baseline risky driving did not vary by family communication pattern. The impact of the parent-focused intervention was stronger in families with a laissez-faire FCP. The laissez-faire FCP focuses little on child conformity and downplays communication. Conclusions: These results provide a framework for targeting high-resource teen driving interventions (event recorder feedback and parent-communication training) to families with laissez-faire communication patterns to attain the greatest risk reductions.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Iowa Injury Prevention Research Center and Department of Epidemiology, University of Iowa College of Public Health, Iowa City, IA;, Email: [email protected] 2: Assistant Professor, Department of Health & Kinesiology, Purdue University College of Health and Human Sciences, West Lafayette, IN 3: University of Iowa National Advanced Driving Simulator, Iowa City, IA 4: University of Iowa Injury Prevention Research Center, Iowa City, IA 5: Associate Professor, The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Nationwide Children's Hospital Center for Injury Research and Policy, Columbus, OH 6: Professor, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, University of Iowa College of Public Health, and Director, University of Iowa Injury Prevention Research Center Iowa City, IA

Publication date: September 1, 2019

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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