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Mutual Influences of Mothers’ and Daughters’ Mental Health on the Closeness of their Relationship

Mutual Influences of Mothers’ and Daughters’ Mental Health on the Closeness of their Relationship

A Health Chat study published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies examined intra- and interpersonal associations between poor mental health and mother–daughter relationship closeness in a sample of 467 dyads. Health Chat was a social media intervention designed to reduce mothers’ permissiveness toward their teen daughters’ indoor tanning behavior. It also addressed other adolescent health topics, such as vaccination, alcohol, and physical activity.

An Actor–Partner Interdependence Model was used to examine bidirectional processes between mothers and their teenage daughters. The independent variable was self-reported poor mental health and the dependent variable was relationship closeness. Communication satisfaction was also examined as a potential interpersonal mediator of the pathway between poor mental health and relationship closeness.

Daughters’ self-reported poor mental health negatively predicted their own perception of closeness as well as mothers’ perception of closeness. In addition, there was evidence that perceived communication may help explain both the actor effect (one’s own poor mental health on one’s own perception of closeness) and the partner effect (partner’s poor mental health on one’s own perception of closeness).

Detailed methods and results are presented in the publication. Results suggest that when daughters’ mental health is poor, relationship closeness as perceived by mother and daughter may be weakened, and that this effect may in part be explained by poor communication between mother and daughter. The authors concluded that strategies to promote family communication, especially for families experiencing mental health problems, may aid in the development of closer mother–daughter relationships.

This research was funded by a grant and supplement from the National Cancer Institute (CA192652; David Buller and Sherry Pagoto, Multiple Principal Investigators). Additional collaborating authors include Hyanghee Lee (lead author) and Kimberly Henry from Colorado State University; Katie Baker and Joel Hillhouse from East Tennessee State University; Jessica Bibeau from the University of Connecticut; and Barbara Walkosz and Julia Berteletti from Klein Buendel. 

Mothers and Teenage Daughters: HPV Vaccination Information via Social Media

Mothers and Teenage Daughters: HPV Vaccination Information via Social Media

Dr. David Buller, Klein Buendel’s Director of Research, and his coauthors have published results from the Health Chat Project in the online journal, Frontiers in Digital Health. Health Chat was designed as a social media intervention to reduce mothers’ permissiveness toward their teen daughters’ indoor tanning behavior. It also addressed other adolescent health topics, including human papillomavirus vaccination.

“Parents acquire information about human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines online and encounter vaccine-critical content, especially on social media, which may depress vaccine uptake,” according to the authors. To help address vaccine hesitancy and misinformation, the authors employed a Facebook-delivered adolescent health campaign targeting mothers with posts on HPV vaccination. The study examined the relationship between mothers’ comments and reactions to posts about HPV and any change in their self-reports of having their daughters vaccinated.

The online publication describes the study’s hypotheses, social media health intervention, research methods, results, communication strategies, and limitations. The behavioral research was guided by social cognitive theory, transportation theory, and diffusion of innovations theory. In summary, mothers commented both positively and negatively toward HPV vaccine-related posts. Also, vaccinations rates increased from baseline, through 12-month and 18-month follow-up assessments.

This research was funded by a grant and supplement from the National Cancer Institute (CA192652; Dr. David Buller and Dr. Sherry Pagoto, Multiple Principal Investigators). Collaborating authors include Dr. Katie Baker and Dr. Joel Hillhouse from East Tennessee State University; Dr. Kimberly Henry from Colorado State University; Jessica Bibeau from the University of Connecticut; Kelsey Arroyo from the University of Florida; and Dr. Barbara Walkosz and Julia Berteletti from Klein Buendel.