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Parent-Child Connectedness


According to researchers with ETR Associates, Parent-Child Connectedness (PCC) “is characterized by the quality of the emotional bond between parent and child and by the degree to which this bond is both mutual and sustained over time. When PCC is high in a family, the “emotional climate” is one of affection, warmth, satisfaction, trust, and minimal conflict. Parents and children who share a high degree of connectedness enjoy spending time together, communicate freely and openly, support and respect one another, share similar values, and have a sense of optimism about the future.” Although most of the literature speaks to connections between parent and child, it is probable that the findings hold true for primary custodians who are not the child's parents, such as grandparents who are raising their grandchildren.

Parent-child connectedness has been linked in the research literature to over two dozen adolescent health and wellbeing outcomes, leading some to consider it a “super-protector.” The absence of parent-child connectedness has been found to be a risk factor for all five of NC’s prioritized violence outcomes, in addition to bullying and teen dating violence.

Most initiatives to support parent-child connectedness are education or counseling programs conducted directly with parents and children. Some proposed strategies look more broadly at policies to facilitate stronger parent-child positive bonds, such as policies to increase the amount of time working parents have available to spend with their children.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ChildWelfare.gov, Resource Center for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (ReCAPP), ChildTrends, Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, NC Institute of Medicine