Father playing ball with two kids.

Parental Connectedness: More on Risk Behaviors


Father playing ball with two kids.This is the seventh in a series of blogs about the benefits of connectedness.

Dr. Michael Resnick, a researcher from the University of Minnesota, conducted one of the great research projects measuring connectedness and applied it to kids and high-risk behaviors. Many of his findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 1997.

In that article he summarized family, school and other characteristics that protect adolescents in eight areas: emotional distress, suicide, violence, use of drugs (alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana), sexual debut, and pregnancy.

A parent-family connection (measured by closeness to parents, perceived caring, satisfaction with the relationship, and feeling loved and wanted) helped protect against seven of the eight risk areas. A history of pregnancy was the only exception. In addition to overall connectedness, a parent’s presence, shared family activities and high expectations also served as protective functions. According to the authors, these findings offer “consistent evidence that perceived caring and connectedness to others is important in understanding the health of young people today.”

That is powerful information!

The Bible says in Romans 13:8 NIV “…for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.”

Don’t you think that this Biblical imperative applies to loving our kids and the kids of others in our neighborhood?


Gary L. Hopkins, MD, DrPH, MPH is currently an associate research professor at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan where he is also associate director of the Institute for Prevention of Addictions, Director of the Center for Prevention Research and Director of the Center for Media Impact Research.