The Effect of Family Structure on Decision Making, Parenting Styles and Healthy Lifestyle Behaviour of Adolescents in Rural South Africa
The aim of the study was to compare perceived parenting styles, decision making styles and healthy lifestyle behaviours of adolescents from single and two-parent families within a rural setting in South Africa. The study employed a quantitative methodology with a cross-sectional comparative group design. The sample consisted of 457 Grade 9 learners from four randomly selected secondary schools in the Overberg Education District, Western Cape, South Africa. The data was collected using the Parental Style and Dimension Questionnaire, Melbourne Decision Making Questionnaire and the Health-Promoting Lifestyle Profile II as well as a short biographical questionnaire. The data was analysed using both descriptive and inferential statistics (MANOVA). The results suggest that maternal and paternal authoritative parenting, vigilant decision making and often engagement in healthy lifestyle behaviours were prevalent for adolescents in rural South Africa. The results furthermore suggest that there were no significant main effects of family structure on perceived parenting styles, decision making styles and healthy lifestyle behaviours. The findings also serve as a recommendation for future research to do an urban-rural comparison, as the applicability of urban findings are often questioned in rural studies.
Keywords: Decision Making styles, Parenting Styles, Healthy Lifestyle Behaviour, Family Structure, Adolescent