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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The application of transformational leadership theory to parenting and adolescent health promotion Morton, Katie Louise


The overall purpose of my dissertation was to apply a framework of parenting that draws from transformational leadership theory to better understand the influence of parents on the health-enhancing cognitions and behaviours among adolescents. Transformational parenting is a type of parenting that elevates, inspires and challenges youth to achieve higher levels of functioning, and is conceptualized as the extent to which parents interact with their children through the demonstration of idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration. In chapter 1, an overview is provided of the importance of adolescent health and well-being, and the role of parents in adolescent health promotion. In addition, chapter 1 presents a synopsis of validity theory and an overview of the subsequent chapters within this dissertation. Following this, an extensive review of both the transformational leadership and parenting literatures is presented and the conceptual similarities between parenting and leadership are highlighted (chapter 2). In this theoretical and integrative review, it is argued that extending transformational leadership theory to parenting presents an opportunity for developing a useful conceptual model for (a) understanding the relationships between parenting and adolescents’ health behaviours, and (b) supporting the development of parenting interventions. The development of a measure of transformational parenting for use with adolescents is presented in chapter 3. First, potential items were generated and evidence for content validity was demonstrated through the use of focus groups with parents and adolescents. Evidence for several aspects of construct validity of measures derived from the Transformational Parenting Questionnaire (TPQ) is provided. Positive relationships between mothers’ and fathers’ transformational parenting behaviours, adolescents’ self-regulatory efficacy for physical activity and healthy eating, and life satisfaction are also demonstrated. The results of a pilot intervention guided by transformational leadership theory, are presented in chapter 4. Finally, in chapter 5, an overview is provided of the novel contributions of the research as well as limitations and future directions. In conclusion, the research presented within this dissertation demonstrates that transformational leadership theory represents a useful paradigm to better understand, and potentially foster, health-enhancing cognitions, behaviours and well-being among adolescents.

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