Health behaviours in emerging adulthood: Their relationship with perceived maternal and paternal parental attitudes and the mediating role of self-efficacy
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Submission date: 2017-08-29
Final revision date: 2017-09-20
Acceptance date: 2017-09-20
Online publication date: 2017-11-09
Publication date: 2017-11-09
Health Psychology Report 2018;6(1):94–108
The present research examined the mediating role of self-efficacy in the association between perceived maternal and paternal parental attitudes and health behaviours of males and females in emerging adulthood. Parental attitudes shape children’s self-esteem, positive self-image, and self-competence. This may affect their physical health and health behaviours throughout their lives.

Participants and procedure
A total of 147 (mean age: 19.70, SD = 0.85, 68.7% females) participants took part in the study. They completed several questionnaires measuring health behaviours, perceived parental attitudes, and self-efficacy: the Inventory of Health Behaviours, the Retrospective Assessment of Parental Attitude, and the General Self-Efficacy Scale.

We found that that female participants exhibited healthier eating habits but lower self-efficacy than male participants did. Accepting and autonomy granting maternal and paternal parental attitudes predicted a positive health attitude (of both male and female participants), preventive behaviours (of male participants), and healthy eating habits (of male participants). As predicted, emerging adults’ self-efficacy mediated the relationship between their health behaviours and perceived parental attitudes. However, the mediation patterns were different for female and male participants.

The quality of perceived parental attitudes and self-efficacy are important for health-related lifestyle choices among emerging adults. Mothers and fathers may play different roles in the formation of health behaviours.
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